UNITED KINGDOM- There will be a five-week strike at the Passport Office across the UK next month, so anyone with a new document may experience delays.
A total of over 1,000 members of the Public Commercial Services (PCS) union in Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Peterborough, and Southport will strike from April 3 to May 5, while those in Belfast will strike from April 7 to May 5.
According to the union, the escalation of long-running disputes over pay, pensions, redundancy terms, and job security will likely affect passport deliveries in the lead-up to summer. Currently, officials are offering workers a 2% pay raise, but union bosses are requesting 10%.
According to PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka: “This escalation of our action has come about because, in sharp contrast with other parts of the public sector, ministers have failed to hold any meaningful talks with us, despite two massive strikes and sustained, targeted action lasting six months.”
“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.”
“They seem to think if they ignore our members, they’ll go away. But how can our members ignore the cost-of-living crisis when 40,000 civil servants are using foodbanks and 45,000 of them are claiming the benefits they administer themselves?”
After Covid lockdown restrictions were lifted in April, the Home Office reported an “unprecedented demand” for passport applications. The Home Office has not responded to PCS’s claims as of yet.
Here’s what the fresh strikes could mean for your summer vacation:
Passports, which cost £82.50, generally take 10 weeks to arrive after all documents are received, according to the government.
If strike action continues for five weeks, it may not be possible to get a new one until the last week of June for those who apply early next week, around April 24.
In the current strike situation, services that can expedite the passport process should still be available.
However, the cost of this option is significantly higher than the general application – £155. A new passport can be obtained in one day through premium passport applications, but it will cost you £193.50.
Strike action may also delay these costlier methods, although the Home Office has not confirmed any specific delays.
The Home Office raised passport application fees by around 9% on February 2, 2023. Extra revenue will be used to improve government services.
An adult passport renewal online costs £75.50 to £82.50, while a child’s passport renewal costs £49 to £53.50. For children, the passport renewal fee has increased to £54 from £58.50.
A fast-track passport can be renewed within a week for £155 for adults and £126 for children. Compared to the current price of £142 and £122, these prices are up by £13 and £4.
For those looking for the fastest turnaround, premium passport services, which get you a new passport within the same day, are going up nearly £20 to £193.50.
No matter whether you’re applying for your first passport, renewing your passport, or replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged passport, the fees are the same.