Driving examiners to stage walk-out in fresh DVSA strike action

PCS union accuses driver agency of "petty-minded response" to staff who took earlier strike action

By matt.foster

30 Nov 2015

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is to be hit by four more days of strike action this week, the PCS union has announced, amid an ongoing dispute over working conditions for driving intstructors.

The DVSA – a Department for Transport executive agency which sets road safety standards and regulates the MOT vehicle testing system – outlined plans for a more flexible employment contract last year, striking an initial deal with unions last year.

However, talks between the DVSA and the PCS and Prospect unions broke down last month, amid claims the new terms were being forced through at the expense of staff and could undermine safety. A two-day PCS walk-out began on November 19, with further action short of a strike since then.

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In a statement announcing fresh strikes, the PCS accused DVSA of "seeking to dock a whole day's pay" for staff who took part in the earlier action, and said staff in Scotland, northern and north west England would kick off four days of nationwide driving examiner walk-outs on Tuesday.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ""The issues of road safety at the heart of this dispute are very serious and examiners deserve more than this petty-minded response from the DVSA.

"It is shocking that the agency appears happy to press ahead without negotiating or fully understanding the likely consequences of its actions."

DVSA chief executive Paul Satoor said the agency remained open to talks, and defended the introduction of new contracts.

“Staff signed up to a new standard employment contract in April 2014 in exchange for a lump-sum payment and a three year pay deal," he said.

"This was agreed with the trade unions, and applies to all staff in the Department for Transport and motoring agencies. The pay deal included transitional arrangements that came to an end on 1 November 2015. "It is disappointing that the trade unions have now chosen to oppose the contract they agreed in 2014.

“We are doing everything we can to minimise any disruption to customers and we apologise for any inconvenience.”

Satoor added: "We remain open to negotiations and have offered to hold further discussions with the unions. The new contract meets all relevant legislation and we are very clear that there will be no negative impact on road safety."

The PCS has also accused DVSA management of failing to recruit enough staff, saying the agency had "admitted it is 350 posts short". A government source said the agency was currently running at around 90 staff below budget, but said recruitment was underway for the majority of vacant roles.

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