High level management from the DfT and DVLA met with senior PCS negotiators on Friday night to discuss the ongoing situation at the Swansea site, where over 2,000 people are being forced to attend an unsafe workplace every day.
Chaired by Emma Ward – director general at the department for transport, the meeting was a detailed and robust exchange where PCS set out its demands to make sure DVLA staff are kept safe.
The situation has become critical, following the revelation that 535 Covid cases have been reported at DVLA since September last year. PCS have repeatedly insisted the majority of workers on site should be sent home and only a skeleton staff should remain.
It was revealed that one day in the last few weeks, 2398 staff members were on the Swansea estate, representing an intolerable risk to health and safety.
The latest survey from PCS of DVLA members shows that an overwhelming 90% do not feel safe going into work.
Led by general secretary Mark Serwotka and president Fran Heathcote, the PCS delegation made the following urgent demands:
- That DVLA and DfT senior management make an urgent submission to the transport minister to seek authority to massively reduce the number of people in the workplace, reducing it from the current level of more than 2,000, down to the hundreds that were in work during Spring. PCS is also asking for ministerial authority to guarantee DVLA carries out only critical and emergency work.
- Any staff member in a vulnerable category or anyone living with someone in a vulnerable category, are immediately told to stay at home.
- An intensive set of talks to identify the critical services that DVLA carries out and how they can be delivered safely.
- Any individual feeling in serious and imminent danger who invokes their right under Section 44 of the Health and Safety Act would receive no detriment from the employer.
All of these demands have been taken away by DVLA and DfT management for consideration and consultation with the Transport Minister Grant Shapps and PCS expects an answer before we consult DVLA members at our next mass meeting on Tuesday.