Staff at the UK Passport Office are set to strike for five weeks from the start of April in an escalation of a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
Workers who are members of the Public and Commercial Services union will walk out from April 3 to May 5 at Passport Offices in England, Scotland and Wales.
Strikes will take place at offices in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough and Southport from April 3 to May 5 while union members in Belfast will strike from April 7 to May 5.
The union said the action was a “significant escalation” of its long-running dispute, warning it was likely to have a “significant impact” on the delivery of passports as the summer approaches.
“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,” PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said.
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“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 per cent imposed pay rise, and failed to address our members’ other issues of concern.
“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 food banks 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.”