14 June 2022

MPs call on government to resolve Passport Office backlogs

MPs have called on the government to resolve Passport Office backlogs by improving staff retention by meeting PCS pay demands and working with us to end the outsourcing of services.

In a parliamentary Opposition Day debate today, Labour MP Beth Winter said that Passport Office backlogs could be resolved by the government if it “improved staff retention by meeting PCS pay demands, worked with PCS to end insecure agency staff and outsourcing and completed the roll-out of the digital application programme as soon as possible.”

While the government has made a derisory 2% pay offer for the next 12 months while many people struggle with the cost-of-living crisis, we made a claim for 10%. Last month our annual delegate conference agreed to hold a national statutory ballot on industrial action this autumn over members’ pay, pensions and redundancy terms in the UK civil service and related public sector areas.

On Saturday (18), PCS members will join tens of thousands of workers in London on a demo organised by the TUC to demand better from the government on pay and the cost-of-living crisis.

Fellow Labour MP, Stephen Kinnock, said during today’s debate that he found it “extraordinary” that during what he described as a crisis in the Passport Office the government’s response was to cut the civil service by 90,000 jobs.

“In what world is that going to work?” he said. “We clearly need more resources, we need people focused customer-facing services, and we need to build morale, not destroy it.”

He said that civil servants should have “good jobs that they can raise a family on,” but that it was a disgrace that instead “it’s about cutting and undermining and passive aggressive notes.”

Allegations of bullying from senior officials were mentioned by City of Durham MP, Mary Kelly Foy. She said Passport Office staff had reached out to her anonymously to highlight the culture adding to backlogs. Other examples she also described how offices had been hit by Covid outbreaks, that staff have suffered serious mental distress were and that a staff member who said they had contemplated suicide.

Email your MP about civil service pay and the cost-of-living crisis.