1 June 2021

Ministers scupper DVLA deal, prompting sustained strike action for 'months' to come, PCS warns.

In an unprecedented development in over 20 years of civil service negotiations, PCS has accused ministers at the highest levels of government of scuppering a deal to avert strike action at the Swansea site.

Union representatives and senior management, including the DfT permanent secretary had reached a deal at the end of last week, which could have brought an end to the Covid safety dispute, which has been running for several months.  

However, earlier today the DfT reneged on the deal, much of which they had drafted and then refused to give any explanation as to why they were taking that action.  

The proposed deal included: 

  • A one off recognition payment to all staff for their hard work and dedication during the last year, which included those staff that have been able to work from home or on Paid Special Leave during the year
  • A flex-credit of up to 2-days to staff that have been required to work in the office throughout
  • Phased return to the office for those that have been on Paid Special Leave throughout the pandemic
  • PCS representatives strongly suspect ministers in the DfT have intervened to rip up the proposed agreement because of their deep-seated ideological opposition to trades unionism.  

Following this development, an angry virtual members mass meeting took place where PCS members expressed their sense of betrayal.  

Over 500 staff at the contact centre at Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea will tomorrow will take strike action until Saturday and PCS warned they were entering a new phase of "sustained and targetted" industrial unrest for "months" to come.  

The latest strike action is the third time staff have walked out, following several days of action over the last few months, in response to the largest outbreak of Covid in any UK workplace.   

Over 600 Covid cases were recorded during the outbreak last year, including one staff member who later tragically died after contracting Covid-19.   

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "In over two decades of negotiating within the civil service, I have never known a deal which was all but agreed to end a bitter dispute in a key government department, suddenly be withdrawn at the 11th hour without any explanation.  

"Through painstaking negotiation, our union and DVLA senior management were on the verge of agreeing a deal only for it to be scuppered at the last minute.  

"We strongly suspect senior ministers at the DfT have interfered with the progress we were making and want to make some kind of ideological stand against PCS, at the expense of coming to a just settlement both the union and DfT senior management were happy with.  

"They have grossly underestimated the resolve of our members in DVLA and have only emboldened them to take targetted and sustained action in the months ahead until they win. 

"PCS is fully prepared for months of strike action, and we urge the government to re-think its position."