Over 1,000 employees of the Passport Office, spread across England, Scotland, and Wales, are set to embark on a five-week-long strike over issues surrounding their jobs, pay, and working conditions.
Beginning from April 3 and lasting until May 5, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members will participate in the protest. Additionally, those employed in Belfast are also being balloted and may join the strike.
The union has cautioned that the strike could have a “significant impact” on passport delivery ahead of the summer months. With over 4,000 individuals working for the Passport Office across the UK, approximately one in four employees will be abstaining from work.
Several offices across England, Scotland, and Wales, including Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough, and Southport, will be affected by the ongoing pay dispute. According to Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS, the disagreement arose from the government’s refusal to increase the 2% imposed pay rise.
The strike was the result of ministers’ failure to engage in meaningful discussions despite sustained and targeted action, as well as two massive strikes in the previous six months, according to him. Furthermore, he stated that the government is treating its workforce worse than anyone else and ignoring their concerns about pay.
Despite six months of refusing to improve the pay rise and address their members’ issues, the government has yet to take action. According to Mr. Serwotka, the government’s attitude toward the issue is a national scandal that stains its reputation.
Passport office workers have been striking for months, following pay disputes in other sectors, including rail workers, London Underground drivers, teachers, NHS staff, regional BBC journalists, university lecturers, and civil servants.
On the other hand, healthcare workers’ unions in England reached a final pay agreement with the government, which if accepted by members, would end walkouts by nurses, ambulance crews, paramedics, hospital porters, and other healthcare workers. This agreement, however, does not extend to junior doctors due to their separate disagreement with the government.
After months of strikes related to pay disputes in various sectors, including rail workers, London Underground drivers, teachers, NHS staff, regional BBC journalists, university lecturers, and civil servants, passport office workers have now taken the latest action.
On Thursday, the government and healthcare unions in England reached a final pay offer that, if accepted by members at a vote, would put an end to walkouts from nurses, ambulance crews, paramedics, hospital porters, and other health workers. A statement from both sides described the offer as a “fair and reasonable settlement.”
It’s worth noting that the agreement does not apply to junior doctors because they are involved in a separate dispute with the government.
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