3 August 2021

Strong support for DVLA strike as month-long action underway

The latest round of action by PCS members at the DVLA has started strongly with many staff in the drivers medical section not turning up for work and instead joining the month-long strike over workplace safety.

We are asking all PCS members in drivers medical, the department which decides whether drivers who have medical conditions are fit to drive safely, to take strike action over Covid safety. DM was chosen due to its strategic importance to the agency and the fact that ministers are assigning huge importance to the backlogs in this area.

Our DM members started their action yesterday (2) and it is due to end on 31 August. This dispute could have been easily resolved 9 weeks ago when a deal was withdrawn at the last minute and it’s time for transport secretary Grant Shapps and the agency to get back around the table and negotiate.

Our action to date has had a huge impact on the backlogs at the DVLA and the latest walkouts have increased the pressure on the agency with the DM backlog going up by more than 3,000 on the first day, now standing at 254,794 overall.

Annual leave

PCS is aware of an FAQ that went out from DVLA management stating that staff who strike would lose annual leave. We wrote to management demanding this be overturned and threatening legal action against this deduction and following talks we can confirm that leave will not be deducted for taking strike action. If any member feels they have had leave deducted on this basis, contact your local reps via pcs@dvla.gov.uk

Contact centre pilot

On 26 July the DVLA announced it would trial home working for 10 contact centre staff using vehicle systems software and casework and specialist processes. PCS has argued all the way through the pandemic, that it was possible for staff who use these systems to work remotely, it was just the system access that needed to change.

While we want this pilot to be extended and sped up, it is too little too late. It could have happened months ago and avoided 650 DVLA staff testing positive. This pilot impacts the contact centre, where an outbreak was declared in December 2020.

Though this is a small stride we have been disappointed to hear that members who have been able to work from home throughout the pandemic and carry out their role fully and successfully, have had their access to DVLA systems remotely stopped and are now being made to do their work on site.

Consultative ballot

PCS is running a consultative ballot from 11August to 3 September to ask members if they would support of further strike action and action short of a strike. If you haven’t got a personal email address on record with us add that now on PCS Digital or email PCS@DVLA.GOV.UK.

Throughout the ballot period, we will be calling members to remind them to vote. For those members who do not have a personal email address at all, voting details will be sent to their home address.