Passport Office workers will go on strike for five weeks, from 3 April to 5 May in a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
About 1,000 Passport Office workers – one in four Passport Office employees – who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will take part in the industrial action.
The offices affected include Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough and Southport, with Belfast workers still to be balloted.
The action is a significant escalation of the union’s long-running dispute over pay, pensions, redundancy terms and job security and is likely to have a significant impact on the delivery of passports as the summer approaches.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka 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.
He added: “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.”
Referring to the “national scandal” that “so many of the government’s own workforce are living in poverty” he said up to 40,000 civil servants were using foodbanks, and 45,000 were “claiming the benefits they administer themselves”.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the union’s decision to strike after engaging in constructive talks to find a resolution.
“We are working to manage the impact of strike action, whilst ensuring we can continue to deliver vital services to the public, with comprehensive contingency plans in place.”
There have not as yet been any changes on guidance stipulating that travellers should allow 10 weeks between a passport application and delivery.
The first wave of industrial action at passport offices was on Thursday 16 March with walk-outs hitting routine work and urgent appointments. The PCS union said production of passports had stopped at the Newport office, while interviews for urgent passports were cancelled at Glasgow and Durham.
In November 2022 the PCS union balloted more than 150,000 government employees at 214 departments across the country whether they were prepared to go on strike, with 126 passing the threshold for action, including the Home Office and Department for Work and Pensions.