Trade unions have hailed a one-day strike at the Identity and Passports Service a success.
Up to 2,500 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) working for the service went on strike today in a row about pay. The PCS claims 95% of appointments were cancelled and only a handful of passports issued.
The Glasgow, Liverpool and London offices were offering no service to the public, with only a skeleton staff operating in Durham, Belfast, Newport and Peterborough, the union said. It estimated that up 30,000 passports would not be issued today as a result.
The strike will be followed by a work-to-rule starting on 14 October and finishing on Friday 20 October.
Staff are angry at management’s failure to deliver on the union’s pay claim, despite giving an undertaking when it was submitted in June to deal with the claim for 2006-07 as quickly as possible. They are also angry that while the cost of a passport has gone up by 50% in the past 12 months, many have seen their pay rise below the cost of inflation by just 1%.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “Today’s industrial action and the work-to-rule could have been avoided if management had fulfilled their undertaking to make this year’s pay deal a priority, rather than cancelling negotiations.”
A spokeswoman for the Passport Service said: “Pay proposals have been formulated and we are working hard to progress this matter. We have contingency plans in place to minimise the impact of potential industrial action on our customers.”