PCS demands in DVLA dispute and what could resolve it
In the ballot, which starts today and ends on 10 November, we are asking members whether they will be prepared to take part in strike action and action short of a strike to win the dispute that has been ongoing since February.
Ministers have already undone two deals to date that could resolved the dispute and refuse to admit there are health and safety issues left to address. This was confirmed at the parliamentary transport select committee where transport minister Baroness Vere and DVLA CEO Julie Lennard were questioned by MPs.
Our members want nothing more than to get back to work safely and serve the public. One of the key tenets of our dispute has been the DVLA’s refusal to allow most operational staff to work from home. The arguments that this is due to sensitive data being handled is incorrect as HMRC and DWP staff handling the same data have been allowed to work from home.
If the DVLA enabled more staff to work from home, as in other government departments, they would be more resilient for future waves of the pandemic so the backlogs wouldn’t rack up in the way they do now.
Not only does the DVLA not have a plan to keep staff safe, but it is also planning to bring more staff back on to the site (145), as well as reducing Covid security measures which are in place to keep staff safe, such as reducing the isolation period following a positive case from 10 days to 72 hours, as well as increasing the capacity across the sites.
Our demands of the DVLA:
- To reach an agreement with PCS on immediate, medium, and long-term measures in respect of health and safety and Covid that fully protects members’ interests. This would include confirming what we have already negotiated, plus a protocol on Covid safety.
- To agree appropriate reward and recognition measures with PCS which recognise the contribution made by members during the pandemic
- Agree a workplace recovery plan with PCS, including an agreement on staffing and working time.
To resolve this dispute the DVLA needs to:
- Take the health and safety of staff seriously and have a plan for rising cases on site.
- Agree a clear plan for health and safety on site.