PCS have issued a strong rebuttal to DVSA following the announcement of strike dates
Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) announced the start dates for industrial action for members who work for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in a dispute over the new driving test and also working patterns. A work to rule will begin on 23 November and strike dates set for 4 and 5 December.
A strike ballot in October saw an 84% vote for strike action on a 70% turnout.
The DVSA Chief Executive yesterday responded to our notification of the strike action with a statement that had a series of inaccuracies in it. PCS would welcome further negotiations with DVSA and the Department for Transport (DfT) about the issue and have written to the DVSA suggesting this. However in response to the DVSA statement a PCS spokesperson replied:
“PCS worked with DVSA and consultants on a joint timing study of over 4,000 tests in 2016. The timing study was agreed as part of the dispute resolution process we agreed with DVSA in March 2016. In respect of the study there were 5 main findings:
- DVSA were forced to accept that the 8 test day they were seeking to force through at the time was impossible to impose on workers who have a 37 hour per week contract.
- The proposed sat nav test meant a 6 test day was appropriate (it’s currently 7) due to the time of the new test which is over an hour.
- That staff routinely break and are encouraged by managers to break health and safety law because they skip statutory break periods to fit tests in
- The testing regime means workers do not have adequate time to conduct other work that they are required to do
- That the new test needed further work and refinement
We endorsed the report and have demanded negotiations around it. To date – and with the new test less than a month from launch – there has not been one meeting. Management refuse to negotiate on the new test and instead have refined the test without us and carried out a shoddy risk assessment. We have also done a risk assessment that they have dismissed.
PCS will be challenging the DVSA risk assessment and we publish the results of ours to demonstrate all of the concerns our members have and those flagged by driving instructors.
PCS met the DVSA Chief Executive on 2nd November. We agreed to mediation if the employer dropped its proposals on travel time and agreed to find a better solution. The DVSA CE refused. He stated it was nothing to do with him and that travel time was ‘a DfT issue’. DfT have refused to meet PCS unless we withdraw our threat of industrial action”.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka commented “Rather than engage with PCS in a serious manner the DVSA and DfT have resorted to half- truths and inaccuracies in their attempt to deflect blame for this dispute. I call upon Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to get a grip of this issue and get his officials around the table with PCS to discuss the issues and avoid the industrial action that is planned.”