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Passport Office staff plan to strike today over staff shortages which they claim led to last year’s backlog in processing applications.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union say the strike will draw attention to staff shortages dating as far back as 2010, as well as inequalities in pay.

However, The Home Office has expressed disappointment at the timing of the strike, saying it could affect people's summer holidays.

A Home Office spokeswoman said holding a strike at this stage is irresponsible and will inconvenience customers and 'jeopardise their holidays'.

"We strongly urge PCS to reconsider this action which is not in the interests of staff or the general public they are dedicated to serving," she said.

"HM Passport Office staff know how important it is to hard-working people and their families to receive their passports in time for their summer holidays. They have shown this through their hard work and commitment during this exceptional period of high demand."

However, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the staffing crisis in the Passport Office has been obvious for everyone to see.

"It shouldn't have taken a committee of MPs to force the chief executive to meet us to discuss it," he said. "We are still a long way off getting a commitment from the agency that it will work with us to put the proper resources in place to ensure these backlogs do not reoccur year after year."

The Guardian reported that extra staff were drafted in to deal with the backlog of 30,000 applications, and last month home secretary Theresa May apologised to those affected by the delays.

The Passport Office said it had faced the highest demand for applications in the past 12 years, and said predictions for the summer surge had been 'substantially exceeded'. Customer service counters would remain open on Monday.

Image credit: Thinkstock


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