PASSPORT OFFICE: Union fury over redundancy leaflets
9:50am Tuesday 10th May 2011 in Passport Office
THE passport service was condemned yesterday after boxes of redundancy leaflets were left at the front of its Newport office in full view of staff arriving for work.
Anne-Louise McKeon-Williams, branch secretary of PCS union, said the incident was an “utter insult”, while workers were still in the dark over whether the office will be closed.
Ms McKeon-Williams said pallets holding around 36 boxes were seen in the staff foyer of the building in Upper Dock Street, yesterday morning.
On closer inspection, the 36 boxes, which were in ripped black bags, had the words “redundancy leaflets” written on them, she said.
One MP said the delivery was a “disgraceful way to treat workers,” while another called for the government to make its decision on whether to shut the branch known.
Thousands of people from Gwent and across Wales have signed the Argus’ petition against the proposed closure of the office, which was announced last year. As many as 300 people could be facing redundancy.
Ms McKeon-Williams added: “It just makes an uncertain situation even more uncertain than it was before.
“People have put their lives on hold waiting for this decision.”
Newport West MP Paul Flynn called for the government to announce its position, adding: “This does appear to be a cynical game they are playing with 300 families.”
Newport East MP Jessica Morden said it was a “disgraceful way to treat workers who have lived with the threat of redundancy over them since last October.”
She said she has already emailed immigration minister Damian Green’s office about the issue, and was going to try to speak to him about it in person.
An Identity and Passport Service spokesman said the leaflets concerned voluntary redundancy and retirement, and new stocks were being circulated across regional offices and interview offices.
IPS was yesterday unable to give a planned date for when the government’s decision will be announced, but it is understood that a final decision is expected at the end of May.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Shameful way to treat staff
THOSE running the passport office may have a legitimate reason for distributing leaflets about redundancy.
However, to leave a box of them in full view is highly insensitive at the very least.
Staff yesterday called the Argus to say they had seen boxes left at reception marked ‘redundancy leaflets’.
Given what is going on there at the moment they were rightly alarmed.
The passport service says the leaflets were about voluntary redundancy and retirement, and new stocks were being circulated across regional offices and interview offices.
That does not excuse what happened. There are 300 people in that building facing a very uncertain future. They find out soon if they still have a job.
Imagine walking into work and seeing a box marked redundancy leaflets, not knowing what those leaflets were for?
We echo the sentiments of politicians who describe it as a disgraceful way to treat workers.
Whoever left those boxes should hang their heads in shame.