Signs of light in long-running transport dispute

31 January 2013

We have agreed to call off Friday's planned strike across the Department for Transport after progress in negotiations lifted the threat of compulsory redundancy for hundreds of staff.

The strike had been timed to coincide with compulsory redundancy notices going out on 1 February as part of a plan to axe 900 jobs in the DVLA local offices earmarked for closure. This has now been postponed and will be subject to further talks.

We have also secured a no compulsory redundancy agreement in the Driving Standards Agency until 31 March 2014.

The department has agreed to further negotiations, which will also include the sickness absence policy, starting on Tuesday 5 February.

While this is by no means the end of the dispute, and many issues remain to be discussed, it represents undoubted progress.

It should be recognised that these serious negotiations are only taking place after our members in the DfT showed a willingness to stand together and take action.

Innovative and well-supported group-wide rolling strikes and protests first started in June 2012.

We are still particularly concerned about plans to close the 39 DVLA local offices around the country.

These proposals attracted the support of only 8% of respondents, around 100 people, to the government's consultation, in contrast to the 72,000 members of the public and representatives of the motor trade who signed our petition.

Alongside a commitment to engage in negotiations, we are committed to continuing our campaign to ensure no DfT staff are forced out of their jobs and that no offices are forced to close.

As well as pursuing employer-specific concessions, all 250,000 civil and public service members in the union are to be balloted as part of our national campaign over cuts to pay, terms and conditions, pensions and jobs.

This ballot opens on Friday 8 February and closes on Monday 4 March. More information is on our campaigns pages.

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