The Prospect trade union has stepped up its campaign against VOSA’s test station closure programme by claiming that the agency is struggling to sell off its estate due to leasing contracts.
The public sector union also said it remains concerned about road safety if the DfT continues with its plans to move heavy vehicle testing to private sites, or Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs) – Commercial Motor reported.
Prospect claims that since the Birmingham testing station closed in October, VOSA has been unable to relinquish a 30-year lease agreement with the city council and is therefore saddled with annual costs totalling £50,000.
Kevin Warden, secretary for the VOSA arm of Prospect, said a similar situation in Ipswich means that while tests there will soon cease, office staff must remain in leased buildings.
“They have a lease they can’t get out of so they are keeping staff there. It makes a nonsense of it all, to be truthful,” he said.
Prospect also claims a tanker was forced to travel an extra 100 miles to Liverpool’s test centre, which accepts dangerous goods vehicles, while fully laden with fuel after the Birmingham station closed. However, a VOSA spokesman said there are six stations “in close proximity to Birmingham.”
He adds: “The Birmingham site is being disposed of and currently saving us £65,000 a year.”