As the Covid safety strike by DVLA staff at Swansea continues, delegates at this year’s national conference heard awful reports of the conditions at the site, where over 600 cases of Covid have been reported. After reducing desks by 300 earlier in the year to meet the 2 metre distancing requirement, so many staff are being brought back that they have to share desks.
During the debate it was pointed out that while staff sat less than two metres opposite for months at the Swansea site, senior management only came into the office “a handful of times” while CEO Julie Lennard “blatantly lied to the transport select committee” earlier this year about the dire situation facing staff. In the last few weeks a deal to end several months of stoppages, was pulled at the 11th hour by what many suspect was transport secretary Grant Shapps.
The overall impact of the strike by our members, who open and scan all items of post, has been keenly felt by the agency with the current backlog standing at 1.4million pieces of post. Instead of trying to solve the dispute, DVLA senior management instructed a private company to carry out work in order to undermine the strike.
The motion states: “this conference wishes to place on record our complete support to the DVLA branch in its campaign to protect members from further health and safety breaches, where the DVLA management has failed to do so.”
It asks for the resignation of Grant Shapps as secretary of state for transport, given his failure to intervene, and ensure the safety of all staff being forced to go into the DVLA workplaces, and placed on record a vote of no confidence in Julie Lennard the DVLA CEO for her mishandling of this situation and her woeful attempt to defend their position at the transport select committee. The NEC is also instructed to support legal claims, where these have a good prospect of success, for any DVLA members affected by Covid individually and collectively.
The local branch has raised an incredible £42,000 in solidarity money in the course of strike action, but every branch of the union is urged to get behind the DVLA dispute. The Cardiff branch has made two payments from its fundraising account totalling £500. If you would also like to support the members there, you can:
- Donate to the strike fund. This fund supports members financially when they are striking and therefore not being paid by their employer. The details are: account name: Fighting Fund Levy. account number: 20331490 sort code: 60-83-01, reference: DVLA
- Sign the e-action. PCS has launched an e-action to ask transport secretary Grant Shapps to intervene to keep members safe.
- Messages of solidarity. Write in support of striking DVLA workers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.