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Annie Hayes



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Passport strike begins


The first of a three-day strike by workers at the Passport Service has begun.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are in a dispute with the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) over office closures, below inflation pay and what they call ‘draconian’ working practices.

Staff are angry over restructuring plans which could see the UK’s seven passport offices reduced to three. Plans have already been drawn up to close the Glasgow passport office which could see over 100 jobs go.

Further anger has been sparked by a pay offer worth only 2.5%; starting salaries at IPS are as low as £13,109.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “Strike action is not a step which is taken lightly and the inevitable disruption caused over the three days is regrettable.

“However those on strike have been pushed to the limit by a management seemingly hell bent on unpicking a world class service and a government content on paying poverty wages with its policy of below inflation pay.”

In some good news for parents stranded at home, money saving expert Martin Lewis has tipped childcare voucher schemes as one of the top ways to save money on childcare over the school holidays.

“Many parents are missing out on huge savings, simply because many of them aren’t aware that the vouchers exist,” he said. “The vouchers cover childcare up to the age of 15, and can be used to pay for any childcare that is registered and/or approved. Many parents don’t realise that this covers not just nursery schools, playgroups, nannies and childminders, but also a wide range of summer classes, clubs and workshops for older children. Other flexible aspects of the scheme are that vouchers have a long expiry date, so can be saved up for times when parents know childcare costs will be higher, such as the summer holidays.”

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Annie Hayes


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