Demand for new passports spikes as more than 1,000 workers start five weeks of strike action

3 April 2023, 06:05

More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) at eight sites are walking out in an escalation of the long-running row
More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) at eight sites are walking out in an escalation of the long-running row. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

There has been a spike in the number of new passport applications as workers begin a five-week strike in 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 across the country will walk out in an escalation of the long-running row.

Picket lines will be mounted on Monday outside the offices in Glasgow, Durham, Liverpool, Southport, Peterborough, London, Belfast and Newport in Wales.

More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) from the Passport Office are walking out
More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) from the Passport Office are walking out. Picture: Getty

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has written to the Government calling for urgent talks in a bid to resolve the dispute, accusing ministers of treating its own employees differently to others in the public sector.

The union is stepping up strikes across the country, with a nationwide walkout of more than 130,000 civil servants set to take place on April 28.

Read More: Heathrow Airport staff go on strike as CEO gets bumper pay rise over salaries break down

Read More: British holidaymakers face Easter travel chaos with mass flight cancellations amid strikes at Heathrow and in France

The Home Office has not changed the expected time for applications to be completed
The Home Office has not changed the expected time for applications to be completed. Picture: Getty

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.

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

Those walking out will be supported by a strike fund.

It comes after strikes at Heathrow Airport commenced on Friday, after a failed last-ditch attempt to resolve pay dispute in talks Thursday.

Heathrow offered the union a deal with a 10% pay increase back-dated to January 1 initially, and offered an additional lump sum of £1,000 in the latest offer, which was rejected.

The strikes will go ahead for 10 continuous days until April 9 in pursuit of a real living wage.

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