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UK passport office workers kick off 5-week strike

LONDON (AP) — British passport office workers kicked off a five-week strike on Monday, as the latest group of civil servants to demand a pay raise in response to double-digit inflation threatened to cause headaches for travelers ahead of the summer holiday season.

The walkout by some 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union is taking place as Britons seek to renew their travel documents in preparation for their summer vacations. Despite fears of delays, the government hasn’t changed its estimate that it will take up to 10 weeks to get a passport.

The walkout is the latest in a wave of strikes that has disrupted Britons’ lives for months. Public-sector workers including doctors, teachers, train and bus drivers, airport baggage handlers, border officers and postal workers are demanding pay increases to keep pace with inflation, which stands at 10.4%.

A cost-of-living crisis fueled by sharp rises in food and energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left many struggling to pay their bills. Unions say wages, especially in the public sector, have fallen in real terms over the past decade.

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