Prospect union members at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are set to strike every Friday indefinitely in a further escalation of their dispute with management over pay, terms and conditions.
Helen Stevens, Prospect negotiator, said: “I have written yet again to DVSA’s chief executive asking for constructive talks on resolving this issue but it would appear that they are not interested in listening to their staff.
“Road safety is a priority for our members and it should be for the DVSA too, but they cannot achieve that without valuing their staff. It is with the deepest regret that we have to continue the strike. They’ve given us no other option.”
Helen has previously written to DVSA suggesting that both sides seek assistance from the conciliation service ACAS to resolve the dispute, though the permanent secretary at the Department for Transport has stated that the government will not be interfering and the matter remains up to the DVSA.
Helen added: “If Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is prepared to give ACAS a chance in his battle with junior doctors, then why can’t the DVSA follow suit?”
DVSA Chief Executive, Paul Satoor, told CBW: “Staff signed up to a new standard employment contract in April 2014 in exchange for a lump-sum payment and a three-year pay deal. This was agreed with the trade unions, and applies to all staff in the DfT and motoring agencies. The pay deal included transitional arrangements that came to an end on November 1, 2015.
“It is disappointing that the trade unions have now chosen to oppose the contract they agreed in 2014.
“We remain open to negotiations, but Prospect is currently imposing conditions on talks which DVSA is unable to meet.
“We are doing everything we can to minimise any disruption to customers; this includes following standard policies to ensure that staff meet the obligations of their contracts.”
Asked by CBW whether the action will impact on driving and vehicle testing, DVSA replied: “DVSA expects the majority of vehicle tests to be unaffected. During last Friday’s strike action by Prospect, 310 out of the 319 ATFs that had tests scheduled were unaffected.
DVSA also expects most driving test centres to be operating as normal.”