Brits face summer holiday chaos as passport workers set to walk out for weeks

17 March 2023, 07:50 | Updated: 17 March 2023, 07:55

PCS workers in the Passport Office are going on strike
PCS workers in the Passport Office are going on strike. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Britain faces fresh travel misery as more than 1,000 passport workers are set to strike for five weeks ahead of the summer.

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The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) warned of a "significant impact" on passport deliveries ahead of the busy holiday period - after the chaos last year when they dealt with massive demand for renewed documents.

Workers at offices in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newport, Peterborough and Southport will take action from April 3 to May 5, while staff in Belfast will walk out between April 7 and May 5.

They want a 10% pay rise while the Government said giving civil servants hefty increases would be unaffordable.

Mark Serwotka, the PCS's general secretary, said: "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.

Read more: End of the NHS strikes in sight: Will other unions now agree new million-pound pay deals?

"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.

Passport workers are due to walk out
Passport workers are due to walk out. Picture: Alamy

"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's a national scandal and a stain on this government's reputation that so many of its own workforce are living in poverty."

Some 10 million passport applications are expected this year, after 2022 saw a record number of people ordering them.

Read more: It was seen as a ‘badge of honour’ to refuse asylum applications, says Former Home Office employee

It was thought holidaymakers put off renewing their passports during the pandemic, when travel was often restricted or very difficult.

About 360,000 people had to wait more than 10 weeks to get their new documents in 2022.

The PCS, which represents a range of government workers, has been striking to try and secure a bigger pay deal for its members.

On Thursday, NHS workers were asked to accept a pay rise of 5% for next year after the Government reached an agreement with the Royal College of Nursing, Unison and GMB.

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