28/05/2010

Passport Talks 'Making Progress'

The Labour Relations Court has revealed progress has been made during the talks to resolve the ongoing passport dispute.

Talks to resolve the dispute at the Passport Office in Dublin are expected to resume later this morning at the Labour Relations Court (LRC) who stepped into the debate yesterday.

Representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs are meeting with the Civil Public and Services Union who are representing workers in the passport office.

The row has led to a massive backlog of unprocessed passport applications.

Yesterday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin welcomed the LRC's intervention saying he was confident that agreement could be found.

"I very much hope that it will be possible, with the assistance of Mr. Mulvey, to reach early agreement with the CPSU which will enable the Passport Service to return to normal operation as soon as possible. In particular, I want to resume quickly the service whereby any person about to travel can obtain a passport enabling them to do so," Minister Martin said.

He added: "I believe this desire is shared by management and staff in the Passport Service and by the leadership and membership of the CPSU. On that basis, I am confident that agreement can be found on the arrangements and staff levels necessary to achieve this.”

The CPSU has accused the Department of using temporary staff to fill 50 permanent posts. The Department says it must deploy temporary staff to address the backlog of passport applications.

The backlog has risen to over 60,000 because of the five-month work-to-rule over pay cuts.

(DW/BMcC)

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