More than 1,300 Passport Office employees commenced strike action today (3 April), continuing over several weeks in a dispute regarding jobs, pay and conditions.
The employees, members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, will strike until 5 May, with around one in four workers of the more than 4,000 employed by the Passport Office across the UK taking action.
Those across England, Scotland and Wales began today, while employees working in Belfast will strike from 7 April to 5 May. Affected offices in England, Scotland and Wales include Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough and Southport.
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According to the union, staff took action to demand a 10% pay rise, pensions justice, job security and no cuts to redundancy terms. PCS members were balloted last November, with 86.2% voting to strike.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the union’s decision to strike. We are working to manage the impact of this strike action, whilst ensuring we continue to deliver vital services to the public through our comprehensive contingency plans. There are currently no plans to change our guidance which states that customers should allow up to ten weeks to get a passport.”
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, added: “This is a significant escalation of our dispute and responsibility lies squarely with the government, which simply refuses to listen. Our action will continue to escalate unless the government breaks their radio silence, puts money on the table and starts negotiating with us. The level of industrial action in the civil service reflects the strength of feeling among PCS members and the suffering caused by the cost-of-living crisis that they are facing.”
“Ministers must know we will not stop until our demands are met and our members receive the decent pay rise they need to get them through the cost-of-living crisis and beyond.”