13 June 2021

PCS conference calls for Grant Shapps' resignation over DVLA debacle

The opening motion at our national conference 2021 saw unanimous support for the continuing strike action at the Department for Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA).

Delegates spoke with a mixture of anger and determination that PCS would support “one of the most pivotal disputes in the union’s history” and that the action in Swansea “must be won.” 

Over 600 cases of Covid have been reported at the Swansea site and 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.   

Moving the motion, DVLA DfT delegate and branch chair Sarah Evans told conference that DVLA management had refused to tell staff who pulled the deal.  
 
“We have to assume it was Shapps,” she said.  

Sarah concluded by demanding the resignation of Grant Shapps adding: “We have not only united our branch but united the whole of the trade union movement” in fighting for justice for DVLA workers. 

Seconding the resolution, DfT East Midlands delegate Steve said the strength shown by DVLA staff over the last few months of strike action was “a tribute to reps who have come through a baptism of fire.” 

Addressing his comments to DVLA senior management, Steve added: “Where leadership fails, unions must hold them to account.” 

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. 

John – Liverpool Revenue and Customs branch delegate gave solidarity from Merseyside, pointing out there had been “a culture of bullying reported” at DVLA, with union members being intimidated from even turning up to union meetings.  

Concluding the debate, general secretary Mark Serwotka speaking on behalf of a supportive NEC praised the Sarah and the branch leadership, along with supportive local MPs known as the “Swansea six” said the dispute represented “everything that is great about our union.” 

Pointing out the branch had raised an incredible £42,000 in solidarity money in the course of strike action, Mark urged every branch of the union to get behind the DVLA dispute as it “must be won.”