by Tim Lezard The Passport Office must get the staff it needs following today’s “cynical” announcement it will be brought back into the Home Office, the PCS says. The union cautiously welcomes the move – announced minutes before MPs started debating ai …

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, PCS,

passportsby Tim Lezard

The Passport Office must get the staff it needs following today’s “cynical” announcement it will be brought back into the Home Office, the PCS says.

The union cautiously welcomes the move – announced minutes before MPs started debating air strikes on Iraq – but says it will not accept a simple rebranding of the agency and it is disappointed there was no consultation with the union.

Ministers must address the serious shortfalls in staffing, deliver equal pay with other Home Office staff and ensure further work will not be privatised or outsourced.

The measure was recommended in a recent home affairs select committee report, which also:

– Confirmed the union’s view that contingency measures to deal with the summer crisis were “too little, too late”, called for the Passport Office to have “the right number and mix of staff” and noted more was spent on overtime between January and May 2014 than during the whole of 2013

– Urged the Home Office not to try to deal with backlogs by redeploying staff from other areas and offices, risking causing crises elsewhere a few months later. The union has long said all parts of the Home Office require more staff

– Called on the union and Passport Office management to negotiate “a sustainable solution” to adequate staffing. This is something the union has repeatedly pushed for from the outset but has been blocked by the agency’s refusal to properly negotiate

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Despite the cynical timing of the announcement, clearly designed to bury an awkward issue, we welcome this if it will mean we get the staff we need to provide a quality service under public control.

“Instead of the short term measures we’ve seen, we want to sit down and negotiate a long term solution to staffing to ensure the crisis we saw this summer is not repeated in future.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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