Home > Strike! > Don’t Place the Olympics Above Our Pay and Jobs

Don’t Place the Olympics Above Our Pay and Jobs


PCS Members in the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) will be striking on 26th July and they deserve everyone’s support.

Across the Home Office thousands of jobs have been shed in the last few years.  It is most noticeable to the public at the borders where fiasco has been followed by shambles as a direct result of those cuts.  However, the crisis juts across the Department and is just as keenly felt in the Passport Offices around the country.

In the London Passport Office job cuts were far from sensible.  Over the last few years demand for passports decreased as more and more people seemingly began to holiday in the UK or only renew their travel documents when they really had to.  Ministers and senior management saw this as justification to cut large numbers of staff even though demand for passports also has a seasonal dimension whereby the Summer period sees a sharp increase in custom. 

Over the last few months as demand has risen management has had to offer overtime to those left and also draft in casual staff and people from other areas of the organisation to ensure that customers get the product.  Things have been so tight that one customer we know of who wanted an appointment in London was informed that this would not be possible for several weeks and that if they needed their passport quickly they would need to go to the office in Belfast.

If the IPS worked like the borders there would currently be massive queues out the door and around the block.  Meanwhile inside the building people are working frantically.  They’re working under a sustained pay freeze, they’ve seen their pension contributions increased massively and the department is just about to enforce a system of performance moderation where 10% of the workforce will be declared as ‘poor performers’ regardless of whether they perform well or not.  People are fed up being treated so disrespectfully.

Under this backdrop and after months of attempting to get a better deal at work, now is the best time for us to make an impact.  Disruption is regrettable but as well as trying to get a better deal at work we are also fighting to improve the service we provide to the public.  The government and senior management has the power to end this strike.  They need to bring an offer to the table.

Ministers and the media seem to be focusing on the Olympics and the disruption the strike will cause to this once in a lifetime event.  We are interested in the full stretch of our lifetimes.  The next few weeks will pass and then go.  The issues at IPS and across the Home Office will continue for years to come.  In this context the Games are not important.  Nobody should fall into the trap of placing a sporting event above the jobs, pay and conditions of thousands of people and their families.  We are worth more than the Olympics.

Support the strike on Thursday 26th – join us at the London Passport Office from 7:30 am!

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