Passport Office staff to strike for five weeks

By Lisa James
17/03/2023
Home » Passport Office staff to strike for five weeks

Travellers needing a new passport are being warned of long waits ahead of the summer after Passport Office staff announced they will strike for five weeks from next month.

The union representing Passport Office workers warned the ‘significant escalation’ in the dispute over pay and conditions is ‘likely to have a significant impact on the delivery of passports as the summer approaches’.

More than 1,000 Public and Commercial Services Union workers from HM Passport Office in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newport, Peterborough and Southport will strike for most of April until 5 May.

Staff working on the mainland will walk out from 3 April, while those based in Belfast are still being balloted. If they vote to strike, they will walk out from 7 April.

PCSU 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.

At the end of last year, it was revealed that Passport Office staff working from home had added to significant delays in passport applications being processed and the National Audit Office warned there were likely to be problems this year too in the run-up to summer.

Staff working from home led to a delay in completing a new digital system for processing applications, which mean it couldn’t handle the sudden rise in post-pandemic passport applications, so staff had to process them by hand, which was slower.

And last month, Home Secretary Suella Braverman told MPs that holidaymakers still needed to allow 10 weeks for a new passport to be issued this year.

See also: 4 things your clients can try to speed up their passport application

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