Passport Office workers begin strike in 'increasingly bitter' dispute

Picket lines will be mounted outside the Glasgow office on Monday, ahead of a nationwide walkout on April 28.

Passport Office workers have kicked off a five-week strike amid an “increasingly bitter” civil service dispute over jobs, pay, pensions and conditions.

More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) at eight sites, including Glasgow, will walk out on Monday in an escalation of the long-running row.

Picket lines will be mounted outside the Glasgow office, as well as those in Durham, Liverpool, Southport, Peterborough, London, Belfast and Newport in Wales.

PCS said those taking action will be supported by a strike fund.

The union’s general secretary Mark Serwotka previously wrote to the Government asking for a “redress” of “the insulting approach of the government to PCS members” by starting negotiations.

He has accused ministers of treating its own employees differently to others in the public sector after negotiations were held with unions representing health workers and teachers.

The union is stepping up strikes, with a nationwide walkout of more than 130,000 civil servants planned for April 28.

Mr Serwotka wrote to minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quinn: “You have the capability to prevent it [the disruption] by sitting down with PCS and working out a settlement.

“When we met, you led us to believe, as have your officials in the weeks since then, that serious negotiations to resolve this dispute would take place but, weeks later, they still have not begun.

“The level of industrial action in the civil service reflects the strength of feeling amongst PCS members on the issues in dispute and the suffering caused by the cost of living crisis that they are facing. These are hard-working public servants who helped carry this country through a pandemic and they deserve to be treated fairly.”

The Home Office said the Passport Office has already processed more than 2.7 million applications this year, adding over 99.7% of standard applications are being processed within 10 weeks, with the majority of those delivered to customers well under this timescale.

There are currently no plans to change official guidance which states that it takes up to 10 weeks to get a passport.

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