Tech staff commence month-long action
Credit: Public domain
Information technology staff at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have commenced a month-long strike.
The PCS union said its members at the Department for Transport body were angry about out-of-hours working payments, overtime pay and a lack of consultation on the part of management.
It said members were beginning a “rolling programme” of action that would affect the maintenance of IT systems used to book and allocate driving and vehicle tests, incident management, and the training of new staff, although the extent of the impact has been challenged by the DVSA.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the dispute had been going on for three years and members wanted a “negotiated settlement” over their concerns.
“For anyone to take strike action is courageous. But for members to take four weeks of action shows the strength of feeling amongst staff,” he said. “DVSA and DfT bosses must understand that potentially hundreds of workers could walk out in the coming months if they don’t get what they deserve.”
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DVSA said the first day of industrial action had seen just 10 members of staff strike and that the action had been limited to the agency’s Nottingham base. It added that public-facing services had not been affected.
Director of corporate affairs Adrian Long said it was “disappointing” that PCS members had decided to take “unnecessary” industrial action.
“With fewer than 50% of those balloted voting to strike, only 10 members of staff taking strike action and a number considering resigning their union memberships, it’s clear the staff don’t support PCS’s attempt to undermine the great work colleagues at DVSA do every day,” he said. “We have put in place contingency measures to deal with any disruption so we can continue to help everyone stay safe on Britain’s roads.”
DVSA said none of the staff taking industrial action had anything to do with the IT systems used to book and allocate tests. It also disputed the union’s suggestion that the action commencing last week was about out-of-hours working payments or overtime pay.
The agency said it was solely about workforce planning.
PCS’s pan-agency strike ballot had covered issues related to workloads for driving examiners, travel time for operational members, and workforce planning in relation to the use of temporary staff at a time when restructuring measures were placing staff at risk of redundancy.