The Passport Office has reported a temporary increase in demand for new passports as over 1,000 workers to go on a five-week strike.
The Home Office has confirmed the rise in applications but said it is “close” to estimated levels and that there are currently no plans to change the 10-week processing and delivery guidance.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services union are striking across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland until 5 May over pay, jobs, and conditions.
The union has warned of delays to applications and passport delivery in the run-up to summer. The Home Office is working on contingency plans to manage the disruption. “There are currently no plans to change our guidance which states that it takes up to 10 weeks to get a passport,” it said.
The strike affects over one in four of the 4,000 people employed by the Passport Office across the UK, with over 1,300 passports examining staff participating.
The Passport Offices in Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough, South port and Belfast will be affected.
At peak times – including April when the strike will take place – the Passport Office can receive 250,000 applications per week, travel expert Simon Calder has previously said.
Experts suggest that over one million applications could be sent during the strike period. The strike fund, worth millions, will pay staff in full.
According to passportwaitingtime.com, while the password renewal time is just over 14 days, Current waiting times for first adult passports are just over 18 days. But there are fears that some people may not have their passports processed in time for the holiday due to the strike.
National Audit Office (NAO) says, In December last year, hundreds of thousands of people were affected by passport processing delays and 360,000 customers waited more than 10 weeks in the first nine months of 2022.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, earlier stated that the government’s refusal to enhance a planned 2% wage increase was the cause of the strike action and added that ministers had “failed to engage any substantive negotiations.”
The rate of increase in consumer prices, or inflation, was 10.4% in the 12 months leading up to February.
Millions have been set aside in a strike fund, funded by a PCS member charge, to pay staff fully for the duration of the five-week walkout, according to the union.
“Recognise what is appropriate and affordable, as the entire country suffers these cost of living issues,” the government has told the union.
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