THE three day stoppage, hitting
the UK’s seven regional passport offices and 68 interview offices,
will lead to the cancellation of passport interviews and delay the
issuing of passports during one of the busiest periods of the year.
Passport staff are furious over the pay offer which leads to the
longest serving passport staff receiving no pay rise at all for the
fifth year in a row.
The pay offer worth only 2.5%, comes at the same time as nearly £50
million has been spent on consultants. Starting salaries in the IPS
are as low as £13,109.
Staff are also angry over the prospect of office closures which
could see the UK’s seven passport offices reduced three.
Plans have already been drawn up to close the Glasgow passport
office which could see over 100 jobs go. The union fears that
resources are being diverted from passport processing to the
controversial introduction of ID cards.
The strike is the latest in a week of action which saw driving
examiners, coastguards, Land Registry, Valuation Office Agency, Home
Office and immigration staff take action last week over the
government’s policy of below inflation pay in the public sector.
Last week also saw members of Unison and Unite working in local
government strike for two days over below inflation pay.
The seven regional passport offices affected by the strike are:-
London, Liverpool, Belfast, Glasgow, Peterborough, Newport and
Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said:- “The
closure of the Glasgow passport office and the threat to a further
unnamed three is fuelling the anger over the government’s policy of
below inflation pay.
It is disgraceful that long serving passport staff should receive no
pay rise for the fifth year in a row and that efficient hardworking
staff should be rewarded with a pay cut in real terms.
With food, fuel and housing cost soaring, the government’s policy of
below inflation pay has further incensed a workforce uncertain about
their future but passionate about the service they provide.
Cuts, below inflation pay and the introduction of a new performance
management system have all undermined morale.
With a quarter of the civil service earning less than £16,500, the
government need to recognise the impact its policies of below
inflation pay and cuts are having on hardworking families.”
Less than 1000 places left for November 2008 Southport
THIS week, UpNorth Promotions, who run the world famous Southport Weekender
have been in contact with us and told us that they are looking at
yet another big sell out... The event is always popular,
attracting live Sole, Jazz and R'n'B acts from all over the world...
As well as their fans... A spokesman for the event said that:-
"Once again we're amazed by the fantastic response to
November's Weekender and its heading towards another certain sell
out with just over 900 places left. So please don't be too long in
getting your deposits down. The only chalets we have left are 6
berths and a limited number of 4 berths which will be the next to
sell out. If
you've booked earlier intending to add to your party, as we know a
number of you do, then again don't leave it too long to get the
additions to us or they may miss out."
If any of our readers are interested in
going, book now... You can book
online print off a
booking form or simply
call the office on 0870 990 1987. We can safely say it
will be yet another amazing event from the line up we have been
given so far!
Association’s Communication Support Service in Southport and Formby
will be celebrating the launch of the 'Lost Without Words
Campaign' on Tuesday, 29 July 2008, with a Liverpool
‘Capital of Culture’ theme. Members of the charity’s
service, along with volunteers and guests will be invited to dress
in Liverpool-related attire. The menu will include, of course,
Scouse and Jam Butties.
The Stroke Association’s campaign report, Lost without Words looks
at the devastating effects of aphasia for stroke survivors. These
can include loss of confidence and independence and can lead to
Aphasia is one of the most common disabilities following a stroke,
affecting a person’s ability to speak and understand language. The
charity estimates that at least one third of stroke survivors are
currently living with aphasia: literally ‘living in a silence’
– frightened, frustrated and isolated, unable to speak or
Julie Ainscow, Regional Communications Officer for The Stroke
Association explains:- "We all need to communicate. Whether
it’s through speaking, a hand gesture or the blink of an eye, the
ability to interact with others is crucial. The loss of these basic
skills can leave stroke survivors and their carers feeling
imprisoned and depressed."
According to new figures from the charity, a staggering nine out of
ten (88 percent) of stroke survivors in England are left unsupported
and isolated in the community. Stroke survivors in Southport and
Formby, however, are among the lucky ones, as The Stroke
Association’s Communication Support Service provides the essential
support for stroke survivors with aphasia.
Importantly, the study also found that stroke survivors who received
this type of long term communication support via a group setting
reported a better recovery and huge personal achievements. It
concluded that these groups enable stroke survivors to develop new
strategies to replace lost communication skills, continue to improve
and maintain these skills and facilitated social interaction
preventing depression and isolation. The groups also provided
respite for carers.
"Service-users in Southport and Formby are right to celebrate this
service. With this type of support, the stroke survivors here are
able to have a good quality of life and play an active role in
society. The benefits are not only cost-saving to our healthcare
system – they are a basic human right for every individual and
should be available to all stroke survivors with aphasia."
If you would like further information about stroke or The Stroke
Association, please contact the Stroke Information Service on 0845
303 3100, or visit the their