British passport office employees have begun a five-week strike in the midst of an increasingly bitter civil service dispute over jobs, pay, pensions, and working conditions.
More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union walked out at eight different locations on Monday, according to PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka.
Picket lines will be set up outside the offices in Glasgow, Durham, Liverpool, Southport, Peterborough, London, Belfast, and Newport in Wales, according to Serwotka.
The strikers will be supported by a strike fund, according to the union.
Serwotka had written to the government, requesting urgent talks to resolve the dispute.
After negotiations with unions representing health workers and teachers, he accused ministers of treating their own employees differently than others in the public sector.
The union is increasing the number of strikes, with a nationwide walkout of more than 130,000 civil servants scheduled for April 28.
According to the Home Office, the passport office has already processed over 2.7 million applications this year.
It went on to say that over 99.7 percent of standard applications were processed within 10 weeks, with the majority of those delivered to customers well ahead of schedule.
However, there are currently no plans to change official guidance, which states that obtaining a passport can take up to ten weeks.