15 October 2021

PCS response to announcement of reward payments at DVLA

PCS welcomes the DVLA’s decision to pay the in-year reward at the agency which, following our campaigning, now extends to all staff not just a select 20%.

The agency has made the announcement during the week in which we have begun our latest industrial action ballot at the DVLA.

On 1 June, PCS was near agreement with DVLA – a deal was on the table that was scuppered by late ministerial intervention. This agreement included using a pot of money set aside for in-year reward to recognise the work of members throughout the pandemic. The amount we had all but arrived at was £200 each.

The agency then announced it was changing the way in year reward was administered, adding a nomination and panel approval stage, which would have only benefitted a favoured 20% of staff. Following negotiations, the in-year reward scheme has now been reinstated with all staff set to receive £735 each – £285 next month, and a further £450 in February next year.

In a year when our members have gone above and beyond, at huge personal risk to themselves and their families, we are pleased that, following pressure from PCS, staff will now not have to apply and compete for a reward pot.

Dispute continues

While we welcome this announcement our members remain in dispute with the DVLA. To resolve the dispute, we need a commitment from the DVLA that takes the health and safety of staff seriously with a plan for rising cases on site. We also need senior management to agree a workplace recovery plan.

Our members want nothing more than to get back to work safely and to 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.

Exercise your right to vote

Also this week, disappointingly, DVLA CEO Julie Lennard, chose to try to discourage our members from voting in our industrial action ballot.

Ms Lennard posted on the DVLA staff intranet that if members “do not support industrial action, you will make your views felt much more effectively if you simply do not vote at all and do not return a ballot paper.”

As a democratic, lay-led union we want as many members as possible to exercise their right to vote in this ballot and tell us whether they would be willing to take the following action in support of PCS’ dispute over health and safety at the DVLA:

  1. Strike action
  2. Action short of strike.

Shocked and disappointed

A long-standing PCS member, who did not want to be named, felt so incensed by Ms Lennard’s post that she wrote to her to express her shock and disappointment.

“Women fought for the opportunity to vote, to have a say and it is our democratic right to vote,” she said. “I will be actively encouraging people to vote, whether they vote yes or no is not my business, but everyone should use their vote.”

The ballot runs from 12 October to 10 November. 

Members who join PCS between Friday, 1 October and Wednesday, 27 October will be included in the ballot.