The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has announced plans for more than 1,000 Passport Office workers to take five weeks of industrial action, over what it said was “a long-running dispute over pay, pensions, redundancy terms and job security”.
The strike is set to take place between April 3 and May 5, and will involve PCS union members at offices in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough and Southport.
In addition PCS said that Passport Office staff in Northern Ireland “may well join the action”, subject to the result of a ballot which closes today (March 17).
The union warned that the walkout “is likely to have a significant impact on the delivery of passports as the summer approaches”.
“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,” said PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka.
“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 per cent 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 is a national scandal and a stain on this government’s reputation that so many of its own workforce are living in poverty.”
The industrial action is the latest in a series of strikes over pay disputes in the UK – the first of four days of UK-wide rail strikes took place yesterday (March 16), with further action set for March 18, March 30 and April 1.
Earlier this year HM Passport Office announced plans to increase the fees for new and renewed applications from next month, with the charge for a standard adult online application made from within the UK rising from £75.50 to £82.50 from February 2.