11 August 2021

PCS in dispute with DVSA over plans for additional daily driving test

PCS has today entered a dispute with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency over plans to increase the number of daily driving tests to 8.

The agency wants to introduce the extra test as part of a range of measures to deal with the backlog of tests that have arisen as a result of national/regional Covid lockdowns.

We believe this proposal is unacceptable and cannot rule out balloting members over possible strike action on the issue. DVSA ran limited pilots during the school summer holiday period, which demonstrate that it is possible to fit an additional test into the working day, but these pilots took place in the best conditions in terms of weather, daylight and traffic conditions.

We are concerned that:

  • The introduction of an additional slot in the schedule would impact on driving examiners’ performance, leading to an increased risk of accidents.
  • Many examiners will quit over the issue. More than 450 respondents to members’ survey said that they would consider leaving the role/employer if the 8-test schedule is introduced.
  • There will be a negative and significant impact on the well-being of individual members.
  • The proposal might constitute a unilateral change to examiners’ terms and conditions.
  • Examiners on part-time contracts could be adversely affected.

Currently examiners have time slots that include an additional 5 minutes to deal with issues that arise such as welfare breaks. While this will remain, there is evidence from the trials that DVSA has carried out that this is coming under pressure

PCS demands

Meetings have been ongoing since the end of April, when the most recent lock-down rules enabled a return to driver testing in cars. DVSA management have engaged us on the practicalities but have so far failed to meet our demands that:

  • A full timing study is carried out, independent of DVSA, to encompass our health and safety and well-being concerns.
  • The scope, terms of reference and timetable are agreed with PCS and before the eighth test slot is scheduled
  • Full, formal negotiations are entered into between DVSA and PCS on the contractual elements of the proposal.