Passport workers to strike for five weeks including Bank Holidays sparking summer travel warning
Downing Street said ministers would work to “mitigate” the impact of strikes by Passport Office staff, ITV News' Amy Lewis reports
Passport Office workers are set to walk out on strike for five weeks during peak holiday travel periods, in an escalation of a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union working in Passport Offices in England, Scotland and Wales will take part in the action from April 3 to May 5, in a walkout taking in the Easter and early May Bank Holiday weekends.
Those working in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough and Southport will walk out from April 3 to May 5 while those in Belfast will strike from April 7 to May 5.
The union said the action was a “significant escalation” of its long-running dispute, warning it was likely to have a “significant impact” on the delivery of passports as the summer approaches.
Downing Street said ministers would work to “mitigate” the impact of strikes by Passport Office staff, but that there are no plans to change guidance on waiting times for passports ahead of summer.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This escalation of our action has come about because, in sharp contrast with other parts of the public sector, ministers have failed to hold any meaningful talks with us, despite two massive strikes and sustained, targeted action lasting six months.
“Their approach is further evidence they’re treating their own workforce worse than anyone else. They’ve had six months to resolve this dispute but for six months have refused to improve their 2% imposed pay rise, and failed to address our members’ other issues of concern.
“They seem to think if they ignore our members, they’ll go away. But how can our members ignore the cost-of-living crisis when 40,000 civil servants are using foodbanks and 45,000 of them are claiming the benefits they administer themselves?
“It’s a national scandal and a stain on this government’s reputation that so many of its own workforce are living in poverty.”
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A Downing Street spokesman said: “There are no current plans to change the guidance that people should allow up to 10 weeks to get a passport.
"The Home Office will work hard to manage the impact of this strike action to ensure they can still provide the vital service to the British public as you would expect ahead of ahead of the summer where we fully acknowledge that many people will want to get away and enjoy the summer with their family.
“So we will do everything we can to mitigate the impact of the strikes.”