Last week driving test examiners took part in a 48-hour strike in protest over the government’s refusal to pull back from imposing worse terms on staff.
Against the wishes of workers, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is attempting to extend the working day and increase the number of driving tests examiners would be expected to carry out.
Local PCS representative Salma Joosub made clear: “The strike is about the agency not properly funding and resourcing staff. It is about safety as well” (November 23, Leicester Mercury).
Workers organised within the Public and Commerical Services (PCS) union were also demanding a full review of staffing given the fact that the DVSA has previously admitted it is 350 posts short.
As evidenced by Sir Peter Soulsby’s ongoing bullying of Leicester’s unionised taxi-drivers, not all managers (even Labour Party members) are happy with a well-organised and unionised workforce.
So it is saddening, but not surprising, that PCS members have reported that there has been widespread intimidation by their managers for them to accept new working patterns, including staff who have adjustments in place for caring responsibilities.
So far the employer, the DVSA, has refused to talk with the union, and has rejected the offer of ACAS involvement in the dispute. Sounds familar eh… a bit like the ongoing junior doctors’ dispute?
This week however attacks upon driving staff have been ramped up. DVSA is now threatening to dock members’ pay for every time they follow the work to rule.
Given this threat, PCS members have decided their industrial action must be escalated to encourage their employer to listen to reason.
PCS have now called for a rolling programme of regional action starting next Tuesday with members asked to take a total of 2 days’ action, with workers in the East Midlands launching their second strike on December 2.
This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury on November 25.