Passport workers fear job losses

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union PCS, with branch officials at the Identity and Passport Office, Durham, left to right; Viv Conway, Wendy Hillary, John McGrory and Jeff McGough.

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union PCS, with branch officials at the Identity and Passport Office, Durham, left to right; Viv Conway, Wendy Hillary, John McGrory and Jeff McGough.

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A NATIONAL union leader visited Durham City amid concerns over possible job losses.

Workers at the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) in Milburngate House fear jobs will be lost when proposed demolition of the building forces them to move in 2014.

The IPS says it is looking for new premises, but has declined to comment on whether any of the 700 jobs will be lost.

PCS union general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “While the employer has said nothing to indicate there will be job losses, equally they have issued no reassurances to say there won’t be.

“Given the thousands of civil service jobs being lost nationally, it’s no surprise the staff in Durham City are fearful of the future.

“The management needs to understand people in Durham care about their jobs and will stand up to defend them.”

Mr Serwotka, who was last in Durham in July when he spoke at the Miners’ Gala, addressed a lunchtime meeting attended by about 100 passport office staff.

“I was unable to offer them much in the way of reassurance,” said Mr Serwotka. “There’s a very understandable fear the move out of the office will come with job cuts.”

Milburngate House occupies a key position on the banks of the Wear in Durham City and has long been regarded as an architectural eyesore.

A development brief for the site, including housing, shops and leisure facilities was published earlier this year.

A Home Office spokesman said: “IPS are making plans to leave Milburngate House prior to the end of the lease in 2014 and move to another location in the Durham area.”

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