Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Irish passport workers vote to end delays

Passport office workers are to vote on a deal to clear the backlog of applications

Passport office workers in the Republic are to vote on a deal to clear the massive backlog of unprocessed applications after crisis talks between unions and Irish government officials have finished.

Staff in the Civil, Public and Services Union (CPSU) will decide whether to accept the Labour Relations Commission's proposals on tackling delays to more than 60,000 applications as a result of an ongoing work-to-rule over pay cuts.

The plans, drawn up by the commission's chief executive Kieran Mulvey, involve the introduction of around 50 temporary clerical officers to cope with demand.

They also propose priority consideration for those with immediate travel requirements - a provision which was withdrawn two weeks ago.

A spokesman for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said passport applicants currently face a wait of 25 working days.

"The main interest of the department is that we get the passport office back running as quickly as we can so that people who need to travel will be able to get their documents," he added.

The CPSU members have held the work-to-rule for five months, including refusing to answer phones or man counters at lunchtime and shutting down counters for one afternoon a week, in their dispute over pay cuts.

The lower grade staff were angered when cuts for senior management were reversed after the Budget.

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