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UK Passport office to embark on five weeks strike

More than 1,000 Passport Office workers will go on strike for five weeks over a dispute about jobs, pay and conditions.

The union said in a statement on Friday that More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union working across most of the UK’s passport offices including in London, Liverpool and Glasgow will walk out from April 3, to May 5,

The union warned of delays to applications and the delivery of passports in the run-up to summer.

Those working in Belfast are being boycotted and could join the strike.

The offices affected in England, Scotland and Wales will include Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough and Southport.

At peak times  including the month of April when the strike will take place  the Passport Office can receive 250,000 applications per week, according to travel expert Simon Calder.

It means that more than one million applications could be sent during the strike period, he said.

A UK adult passport is valid for 10 years, but if it is due to expire you may be refused entry into some countries.

Most countries require the passport you are traveling with to be valid for the duration of your planned stay, but other countries, mainly ones where you need visas for entry – require a passport with a certain period of time left until the expiry date. 

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the dispute was over an imposed 2% pay rise not being increased any further by the government.

He added the strike action had come about because “ministers have failed to hold any meaningful talks with us, despite two massive strikes and sustained, targeted action lasting six months”.

He said: “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% imposed pay rise, and failed to address our members’ other issues of concern.”

The National Audit Office said the Passport Office processed a record number of applications and warned that a similar demand was expected in 2023 with up to 10 million applications potentially being submitted.

Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Julian Osamoto