The Australian passport process may be disrupted, for at least a brief period, after the company responsible for a key part of the document suspended operations.
Melbourne-based Note Printing Australia, which embeds microchips in the centre of Aussie passports, has locked workers out of its facility today [Friday] in response to an ongoing pay dispute, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said.
According to AAP, in addition to the microchips, which are used to identify travellers, the company is also responsible for making bank notes.
"NPA is the only facility in Australia that is able to do this crucial section of Australian Passports, so this lockout is highly likely to delay the printing of banknotes and also of Australian Passports," the union said.
Whilst a spokesperson for the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said there were "adequate supplies to continue to meet demand for cash", it is not known exactly for how long passport production could be affected.
The union says the RBA has refused its NPA members’ demands for a 3.5% wage rise.
At least we can now check into our international flights using our mobile phones.