Passport staff begin three-day strike over pay offer and closure threats

Passport workers have begun a three-day strike in protest at a sub-inflation pay offer and plans to close offices.

The action by up to 2,900 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) will disrupt attempts to renew passports during the peak holiday season.

Seven regional offices and 68 interview centres across the country will be affected by the strikes at the Identity and Passport Service.

Workers claim that the pay offer they have received is worth 2.5%, while the longest-serving passport staff will receive no pay rise at all for the fifth year in a row.

Staff are also angry about the prospect of office closures. Plans have been drawn up to close the Glasgow passport office, with the potential loss of 100 jobs. PCS fears that resources are being diverted from passport processing to the controversial introduction of ID cards.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “It is disgraceful that long-serving passport staff should receive no pay rise for the fifth year in a row, and that efficient, hardworking staff should be rewarded with a pay cut in real terms.

“With food, fuel and housing cost soaring, the government’s policy of below-inflation pay has further incensed a workforce uncertain about their future but passionate about the service they provide.”

The strike follows walkouts across the Civil Service last week in protest at the government’s policy of below-inflation pay in the public sector.

Members of the Unison and Unite trade unions working in local government also striked for two days last week.

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