Public and Commercial Services Union
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Effects of passports strike will stretch into August

As a three day strike by passport workers entered its final day, PCS warned that the effects would continue well into August with backlogs of passport applications building up due to the strike, which will now be followed by a work to rule.

The three day stoppage called by the union over office closures, draconian working practices and below inflation pay led to the disruption of the issuing of passports and the cancellation of appointments and interviews.

The union estimates that the strongly supported strike could result in a backlog of as many as 150,000 passport applications.

Staff are angry over restructuring plans which could see the UK’s seven passport offices reduced to three.

Plans have already been drawn up to close the Glasgow passport office which could see over 100 jobs go.

The union believes that resources are being diverted from passport processing to the controversial introduction of ID cards.

The restructuring comes at a time when management are imposing a draconian performance management system which the union believes will set staff against each another.

Staff have been further incensed by a pay offer which leads to the longest serving passport staff receiving no pay rise at all for the fifth year in a row.

The pay offer worth only 2.5%, comes at the same time as nearly £50 million has been spent on consultants. Starting salaries in the IPS are as low as £13,109.

The three day strike in the Identity and Passport Service brings to end 10 days of industrial unrest across the civil and public services.

This saw driving examiners, coastguards, Land Registry, Valuation Office Agency, Home Office and immigration staff take action over the government’s policy of below inflation pay in the public sector.

Last week also saw members of Unison and Unite working in local government strike for two days over below inflation pay.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “The unprecedented action over the last ten days has demonstrated the need for the government and employers to start dealing with the issue of below inflation pay and the impact that real term pay cuts are having on hardworking families.

"The action taken is not one taken lightly and should be seen as a last resort by a workforce facing unprecedented cuts to their standard of living.

"The action taken is not one taken lightly and should be seen as a last resort by a workforce facing unprecedented cuts to their standard of living.

“With thousands of civil servants on the minimum wage, pay cuts combined with job cuts are hitting some of the lowest paid and sapping morale.

"Further disruption and a ballot for action across the whole of the civil service can be avoided, but only if the government moves to review its policy of capping public sector pay.”

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