More than 1,000 Passport Office workers are set to go on strike for five weeks over a dispute about jobs, pay, and conditions. Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union working across England, Scotland, and Wales will walk out from April 3 to May 5, with those in Belfast possibly joining the strike following a ballot.
The union warned the action is likely to have a “significant impact” on the delivery of passports ahead of summer. According to the BBC, more than 4,000 people are employed by the Passport Office across the UK, meaning around one in four workers will not be behind their desks.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the dispute was over an imposed 2% pay rise not being increased any further by the government. He added the strike action had come about because "ministers have failed to hold any meaningful talks with us, despite two massive strikes and sustained, targeted action lasting six months".
He said: "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."
He said the government was "ignoring our members" over their pay concerns but this would not make them "go away". Serwotka added: "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." The Home Office has been contacted for a response.
The latest strike by passport office workers follows months of strikes by rail workers, London Tube drivers, teachers, NHS staff, regional BBC journalists, university lecturers, and civil servants over pay disputes.
Passport Offices affected by strike
The offices affected in England, Scotland and Wales will include: