Last week the National Executive Committee (NEC) met and agreed to give full support to the DVLA Branch taking strike action this week. A donation to the hardship fund of £10,000 was agreed.
Over 3,400 PCS members in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) are in dispute over health and safety concerns after being forced to work on site during the pandemic. DVLA sites in Swansea have recorded more than 600 Covid cases and a fatality, the largest outbreak of Covid in any UK workplace, with the contact centre being declared an outbreak site by Public Health Wales last December.
Four days of strike action took place on 6 - 9 April and further strike action is taking place this week for four days.
The dispute is a vitally important one for the whole union as we all struggle to keep our workplaces safe during the pandemic. A donation of £10,000 was agreed by the NEC for the Branch’s hardship fund.
The NEC also considered a complaint which the Branch had made about an incident on 23 April. DVLA members were angry about leafletting that took place outside the Contact Centre. The leaflets were handed out by members of an external organisation, the Socialist Party, who were canvassing votes for candidates standing as part of a group called the ‘Broad Left Network’ in the current PCS elections. The persons handing out the leaflets, and selling a newspaper, were within 2 metres of staff and physically handing out the leaflets.
Members of the branch were angry that what they perceived to be PCS union reps or members were acting contrary to the strict safety demands they had been making on the management of DVLA and undermining the dispute. The incident was used by management to make a complaint to the Branch chair.
The National Executive Committee condemns the leafletting activity and the crass approach of the persons responsible to a group of PCS members fighting for Covid safety in their workplace. The NEC disassociates the union from any such disregard for Covid safety measures and will write to the group responsible to demand that it is not repeated.