DVLA staff begin four-day strike in Covid safety row

Hundreds of Driver and Vehicle Registration Authority (DVLA) employees will launch a four-day strike on Tuesday in a dispute over safety related to Covid.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) at the Swansea, South Wales site, will be stepping down by Friday after talks fail to resolve the dispute.

The union said those involved will include operational staff who have not worked from home.

Further industrial action is threatened if managers fail to make the safety improvements required by the union, e.g. B. the reduction in the number of employees working at the site.

There was an outbreak of Covid in offices last year, but the DVLA said it was following official health guidelines to keep staff safe.

The agency said the strikes would likely delay paper applications it receives, as well as calls to its contact center, but online services will still be available.

The PCS said progress had been made in the talks, but added that the lack of immediate action to reduce the number on the ground means that industrial action will continue.

It was agreed to remove more than 300 desks, revise the risk assessments, which has resulted in an additional 300 employees being sent home, and commit to how talks will be conducted over the coming months.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The willingness of PCS members to take unprecedented strike action shows how badly DVLA management has failed in its responsibility for the safety of employees.

“No officer should have to go on strike to keep his or her workplace safe.

“It is inconceivable that this government would allow DLVA to risk the lives of its employees by forcing them into a job that is clearly not safe.

“We are calling on the DVLA and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to start significant negotiations with the union as we are determined not to send our members back to the DVLA until jobs are safe again.”

A DVLA spokesperson said: “The DVLA has followed and implemented the guidelines of the Welsh Government at every single point in the pandemic as we work to deliver our essential services.”

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