Peterborough passport office among those threatened with industrial action over job cuts

12:47 09 June 2014




The passport office at Peterborough could be one of those affected if unions go ahead with threatened industrial action over job cuts.

The Public and Commercial Services union claims it is job cuts that have caused the current passport backlogs.

A letter landing on Passport Office chief executive Paul Pugh’s desk this morning states the union attributes the current crisis to “major job cuts and office closures during the past five years”, as well as the increasing use of private companies.

It comes as the union is preparing to hold a consultative ballot of all its quarter of a million civil and public service members with a view to taking part in joint union action over pay, starting with a one-day strike in July.

The passports letter points out 22 interview offices and one application processing centre have closed in recent years and 315 staff, one tenth of the workforce, has lost their jobs. It also notes staff is battling a backlog of almost half a million cases.

The union says its warnings about the damage cuts would do have been ignored and blames senior officials for a “lack of forward thinking”, adding: “We do not accept that the current problems can solely be down to unusual demand.”

The union also complains it was not consulted on the redeployment of workers to clear the backlogs, including 25% of the staff who work on fraud prevention and investigation.

The letter from the union’s Home Office group secretary Mike Jones calls for urgent negotiations to identify “where additional permanent jobs are needed with a firm assurance that these jobs will be filled as soon as possible”, as well as talks to address low pay in the passport office and the latest privatisation threat.

It ends: “If we do not get a satisfactory response by 30 June 2014 we will be considering industrial action.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The passport office is failing holidaymakers because of a political decision to cut staff and close local offices.

“While the economy is showing signs of recovery for some, the damage being done by the government’s spending cuts is evident to anyone trying to get a passport at the moment and we are not prepared to stand by and allow this to happen.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ely Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ely Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ely Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 17:28
A collection of rifles that was discovered at a property in Soham this morning.

Police arrested a man in Soham today for drug offences - and confiscated a mini arsenal of weapons after revoking his firearms certificate.

Yesterday, 15:59
Impression of how Ely leisure complex will look

Lib Dems launched a scathing attack on East Cambridgeshire Council’s decision to omit some features from the proposed new £14million leisure centre.

Yesterday, 12:13
Abellio Greater Anglia has warned that the services are expected to be disrupted until 7pm.

“Continually late services”, “gross overcrowding” and fallen leaves causing wheel damage are among many problems causing daily nightmares for Ely commuters.

Yesterday, 09:52
Elizabeth Truss MP and George Freeman MP at the Queen Adelaide level crossing close to the Ely North junction. Picture: Ian Burt

Major improvements to the Ely North Junction which are key to the introduction of twice-hourly trains between London and King’s Lynn have been delayed.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition