PCS is balloting members due to our escalating concerns about safety at the DVLA site. With more than 550 positive cases since September 2020 and well over 2,000 staff attending the site each day, DVLA management is still refusing to make plans to reduce staff numbers on site and keep our members safe.
At the parliamentary transport committee on 27 January, CEO Julie Lennard and HR and estates director Louise White were accused of misleading the committee about the number of staff who are attending site. This appearance at the committee also highlighted that the information supplied to PCS had been incorrect. Many of you wrote to PCS to highlight further discrepancies in what Julie and Louise said at the committee and it clearly didn’t reflect the truth of what we know is happening on the ground at the DVLA.
PCS has been calling for a vast reduction in the number of DVLA staff attending the site since December 2020, when increasing cases across the site and the contact centre outbreak led us to believe that the DVLA did not have the situation under control. The information which came to light during the transport committee, and the sad loss of life at the DVLA, has escalated the situation and we have, as a result, intensified our calls for urgent change.
PCS has since met with representatives from the DfT, Cabinet Office and DVLA representatives to demand:
- Numbers on site should be reduced from the thousands now on site to hundreds, more similar to the staff configuration in March 2020.
- For all vulnerable staff (around 650 are still on site) to be sent home immediately, while plans to reduce numbers further are being discussed between the union and the DVLA.
- That the DfT and DVLA put to the minister what work could be stopped on site in order to reduce numbers.
- That members who choose to invoke their rights under section 44 of the Employment Act would not be met with disciplinary action.
Other than minor tweaks to the risk assessment which have seen a few more staff sent home, the DVLA has refused to drastically change the number of staff on site. This is not good enough and we still believe our members to be at risk in attending the site.
Balloting for strike action
- The ballot will run from Thursday 18 February to Thursday 11 March
- This is a postal ballot and all members will receive their ballot paper to their home address.
- Members will be asked whether they would be willing to take strike action and whether they would be willing to take action short of a strike. PCS is advising a YES vote to both of these questions.
- However you choose to vote, it is important that all members use their vote and have their voices heard. So, speak to your fellow PCS members and encourage them to vote yes too.