We have now closed the H&S consultative ballot for DEs. 86% of those who voted believe that it is not safe to return to work.
The results demonstrate the huge H&S concerns of members following the return to work at driving test centres across the country. 86% of those who voted believe that it is not safe to return to work. Nearly all, 96% believed that staff should not be forced to return. This is a heartening statistic, given it demonstrates the empathy that members have for their colleagues, often those who are clinically vulnerable, or are at a higher risk, and who are quite rightly more fearful of catching the virus. 90% also believe that candidates should be mandated to take a test. 73% are prepared to take action to support these demands.
Your reps have agreed that we again need to use these results to press our demands with the employer. We want to thank those of you who voted and have sent a clear message that H&S is still a huge concern for themselves and their colleagues. These demands will centre on your safety, particularly in view of the move by DVSA to increase tests to 6 a day, substantially increasing the risk of catching the virus, at a time when we are seeing a sharp increase in infection rates following the premature easing of lockdown. We believe that now is not the time to increase tests, which are already being booked, and due to start in Mid-October.
We know that DVSA believe that it is safe for staff to test, and the business must start returning to normal (following SOPs), but your safety is our primary concern, and where members still believe that they are substantially at risk in their job, then we will do all we can, through negotiations, legislation and campaigning to support you. Consequently, we are writing to our parliamentary group to raise and support the demand for testing of candidates. We will also support those who wish to exercise their right under Section 44 of the ERA.
We also want clearer guidance and assurances around local lockdowns. Last Friday, members at Bolton DTC were forced to stop testing when they found out from local media that the rate had risen to 160 per 100,000 people - higher than the Leicester rate when the city went into the first UK local lockdown. Members exercised their right under Section 44 of the ERA (1996) but have been forced back this week, following the threat of nil pay. Again, we will push this further at next week’s parliamentary Group Meeting
Your reps meet regularly (virtually) on a weekly basis, so please contact them with any concerns or updates regarding Covid in your area, and we will raise with management.