Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Passport system backlog cleared

Travellers can use the 10-day passport guarantee service again after a massive backlog of applications was cleared

Travellers can use the 10-day passport guarantee service again after a massive backlog of applications was cleared.

The number of applications on the system peaked at 68,014 in mid-June as a result of the summer rush for passports and industrial action by staff over pay cuts.

Workers from the Passport Office undertook a work-to-rule action, only carrying out the bare minimum of tasks in the workplace.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said there were now 24,057 applications in the system.

Micheal Martin, Foreign Affairs Minister, said the restoration of the 10-day system offered the simplest and most practical means of renewing a passport.

"I want to thank the members of the public for their patience during the delays caused both by industrial action and an increase in demand for passports," Mr Martin said.

In March, some employees, members of the Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU), took part in a work-to-rule action that included 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 staff were angered after cuts for senior management were reversed after the Budget.

It was announced in late May that some 50 additional temporary staff were brought in to help clear the backlog.

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