Passport crisis: how the strike could jeopardise your holiday
Workers strike over pay, as Home Office says 'irresponsible' action will cause further delays for summer holidaymakers
Thousands of passport workers have gone on strike today following a dispute with the Home Office over staff shortages and pay, a move which could jeopardise people's holiday plans.
The industrial action is likely to result in seven out of ten passport office workers not turning up to work today, the Daily Telegraph reports. The strike is expected to increase the delays already being experienced by those waiting for passports, following the unprecedented demand this summer.
The action is an attempt "to end staffing shortages that have caused the ongoing backlog crisis" said the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS). The union says one tenth of the workforce have lost their jobs since 2010.
"We are still a long way off getting a commitment from the agency that it will work with us to put the proper resources in place to ensure these backlogs do not reoccur year after year," PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told the Guardian.
Workers are concerned about low staffing levels, job cuts, pay and the threat of further privatisation.
A Home Office spokesperson called the strikes "irresponsible" and said they will do nothing but "inconvenience our customers and jeopardise their holidays". The Home Office strongly urged workers to reconsider taking strike action.
"HM Passport Office staff know how important it is to hard-working people and their families to receive their passports in time for their summer holidays".
The Home Office said it would work to keep inconvenience to a minimum. Customer service desks will remain open at passport offices, and passengers with "urgent travel needs" will be able to receive passports in "emergency situations".