PCS members working for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are taking industrial action, including striking, over changes to their terms and conditions which could mean they work for 6 days a week but only get paid for 5 days’ work.
The dispute centres on the DVSA’s plans to impose a ‘flexible working’ regime giving managers the ability to deploy all ‘operational’ staff anywhere they choose without notice. Staff would be expected to travel for up to 90 minutes a day on these deployments entirely in their own time.
We have sought compromise at every turn, but our proposals have been dismissed out of hand. PCS is looking for assurances that:
- No member is forced to work longer than a standard day of 7 hours and 24 minutes or a standard working week of 37 hours.
- All staff must have the right to attend their contractual workplace at the normal start and finish time inside the normal working time.
- Members who work part time should be allowed the same admin time for a piece of work as equivalent full-time colleagues.
- Our members' safety - and that of the public - will not be put at risk by new manoeuvres and the use of sat navs required by the rushed and badly designed new driving test.
A ballot in October saw 84% vote for strike action on a 70% turnout in the dispute over the new driving test and working patterns. Strike action is planned across the country on 4 and 5 December, when large-scale cancellations of tests are expected.
Members have also been advised to work precisely to their contracts of employment and strictly observe safety rules as the start of a campaign to try to lever new negotiations with DVSA and its parent department the Department of Transport (DfT).
The action could lead to the cancellation of driving tests as the examiners closely follow all appropriate procedures in respect of work breaks and safety checks. Ahead of the strikes, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has written a letter to secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling to call on him to intervene to resolve the dispute. Read shadow secretary of state for transport Andy McDonald's letter to transport secretary Chris Grayling in which he advised the transport secretary to open talks between PCS and the DVSA as he believed the current dispute could be settled.
Don't be intimidated
DVSA management issued a memo to all staff which made references to staff being disciplined or losing pay if they support strike action and also if they support the action short of strike measures currently called by the union. These tactics are backfiring on DVSA as PCS members enforce the action short of strike and expose the empty threats made by the employer. The action short of strike simply involves members working to the contracts they have, but not doing above that, PCS has responded to management in strong terms and reassured members that they have the full backing of the union should management attempt to dock their pay or discipline them as a result of this action.