THE last people remaining after jobs were slashed at the Newport passport office last year have been told they will be made compulsorily redundant.
But there have been questions raised as to why the final ten are being let go, amid claims overtime is being offered at other UK passport office sites.
Newport East MP Jessica Morden said the way passport office staff were being treated was “unbelievable”.
Following protests, an Argus campaign and a petition signed by 26,000 people against proposals to close the Newport passport office, the UK government decided to keep customer services and 150 posts at the site.
However, it planned to cease processing postal and online applications and cut 120 jobs. Most staff took voluntary redundancy, but ten were left.
A letter written to Ms Morden fromthe Identity and Passport Service (IPS) said the remaining staff were not looking for redeployment within the civil service and indicated compulsory redundancy is the best option available to them.
They will be given compulsory redundancy notices on July 9, the letter said, adding the decision to move to redundancies was the last stage in the restructuring process.
Paul McGoay of the Public and Commercial Services union IPS branch said overtime was being offered at other passport offices, particularly in roles such as postal application examination that were cut from Newport.
He said agency staff had also been recruited. “These redundancies are totally avoidable – there iswork for people to do,” he said.
Mr McGoay said the ten individuals, who work evening shifts, could do customer service and postal examination work.
Ms Morden said: “Its unbelievable that hardworking passport office staff can be treated in this way when other offices are recruiting and offering overtime.”
An IPS spokesman said: “Throughout the restructuring process, we have supported staff and worked closely with other parts of government and the private sector to find opportunities for future employment.
“All staff who wanted a job in the new Newport Customer Service Centre (CSC) have been offered one. “There are vacancies at other locations, using overtime to manage this is the most cost-effective way to maintain the best customer service during our busy summer peak period.”