Five week passport walkout begins as Brits scramble to meet deadline

Passport office workers begin their five-week walkout today, leaving Britons braced for summer holiday disruption. More than a quarter of the Passport Office’s 4,000 employees are expected to walk out. The strikes are set to continue until May 5 across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

Passport office guidance currently recommends allowing 10 weeks for a passport to be renewed.

A Home Office spokesperson responded to the planned strikes: “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.”

While the passport office does not plan to update its guidance as a result of the strike, last year, hundreds of thousands of people waited more than 10 weeks to receive their passports.

This was a result of a surge in demand as Covid travel restrictions came to an end.

There will be picket lines outside offices in Glasgow, Durham, Liverpool, Southport, Peterborough, London, Belfast and Newport in Wales.

Those walking out will be supported by a strike fund, the union said.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has written to the government calling for urgent talks in a bid to resolve the dispute.

There was a “temporary” increase in demand for passports ahead of the strikes, the Home Office confirmed.

But it said the amount was “close” to levels estimated.

The Home Office said that, while there was a rise in demand, “the number er of passport applications remains close to forecasted volumes”.

It added: “There are currently no plans to change our guidance which states that it takes up to 10 weeks to get a passport.”

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