Staff at DVLA in Swansea have told an ITV News investigation that their concerns about Covid safety, particularly over the lack of social distancing, have been ignored and they feel forgotten by management.
Workers featured on the programme, broadcast last night (3), said it was only following pressure from PCS and local MPs that any action on safety was taken by management at a site that has had one of the most serious workplace outbreaks of coronavirus in the UK. Other staff also spoke of a culture of fear, bullying and intimidation at DVLA.
Since PCS launched a Covid ballot in DVLA on 18 February, we have seen some movement from management towards our demands to make the site safer. But we still need all members to vote yes as there is sufficient urgency from management in making changes.
Even though we’ve been pushing for a reduction in number on site for months, balloting for action has seen the employer go back on their ‘Covid secure’ refusal to change anything and the following has changed:
- More than 300 desks have been removed from the site, following a review of the 2 metre distancing requirements.
- The policy for positive cases on site has changed, with more support and testing given to colleagues who sit near someone who has tested positive.
- Performance targets have been relaxed, for the first time in the pandemic for some teams.
Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary said: "The testimony that DVLA senior management have bullied staff and have failed up until recently to guarantee desks are two metres apart is a national scandal.
"There has been a callous disregard for the safety of DVLA staff throughout this whole saga, underpinned by forcing over 2,000 staff to go into work every day since September.
"This is despite nearly 600 Covid cases since March last year, with the vast majority reported from September onwards.
"DVLA senior management have been more focused on threatening PCS members for attending union meetings, rather than working with the union to keep staff safe.
"With these latest revelations of bullying and a lack of proper social distancing measures at the Swansea site, on top of accusations DVLA misled the Transport Select Committee who looked into the Covid outbreak, CEO Julie Lennard should now consider her position."
Members should return their ballot papers as soon as possible to reach the independent scrutineer by noon on 11 March. Ballot papers are free to send and don’t require a stamp.
- Update your details – we need members to register their personal email address and/or mobile number so we can keep in touch. Email email@example.com
- Attend your branch annual general meeting on Monday (8 March)
- Talk to your colleagues who are not in the union about joining
- Get involved either as a union advocate or a branch rep – contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.