PCS operational members at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, including driving examiners and vehicle testing staff, are being balloted from 4 September until 4 October for industrial action in a protracted dispute over travel time arrangements, health and safety and other changes to terms and conditions.
The dispute centres on the DVSA’s plans to impose a ‘flexible working’ regime giving managers the ability to deploy all Ops staff anywhere they choose without notice. Staff would be expected to travel on these deployments entirely in their own time.
The employers proposals effectively mean workers could be required to work the equivalent of an extra day per week for free.
Because the employer demands that this is not working time, but employees’ own time our members are also told that the journey is at their own risk and that if they suffer an accident or crash they are not covered by the Civil Service Injury Benefits Scheme.
The DVSA also intends to rip up an interim agreement covering testing schedules, deployment, health and safety, testing schedules and working time and condition.
There have been talks involving PCS and the employer since 2015 but the DVSA and the Department for Transport still refuses to resolve the outstanding issues. These include the new Sat Nav driving test due to come into law later this year, working patterns and deployment, staffing, a requirement for staff to have multiple workplaces, flexible working payments for all staff who may be asked to stay voluntarily on over and above their contracted hours Monday to Friday and a recognition that all travel time is working time.
PCS members cannot accept imposed arrangements that provide maximum flexibility for the employer and require workers to work additional hours for free.
PCS has put forward six possible solutions that could have resolved this dispute. We have sought compromise at every turn but our proposals have been dismissed out of hand by an employer determined to attempt to undermine terms and conditions and force workers to do more for less.
We are 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 also have the right to attend their contractual workplace at the normal start and finish time inside the normal working time. In addition, members who work part time should be allowed the same admin time for a piece of work as equivalent full-time colleagues and any member working a Saturday or Sunday or bank holiday should receive an enhanced payment for doing so.
Most importantly, we are demanding a deployment and resourcing agreement with a clear end date. We are clear that management has relied upon staff shortages leading to mass detached duty of our members, despite recruiting 300 additional driving instructors.
All eligible PCS members are urged to vote YES to strike action and for action short of strike.
If you have not received your ballot paper through the post by 11th September, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 643 4342.