Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency members vote for strike action

On Strike placard sits in garbage pail post strike. Narrow depth with soft background. Shot in sun setting light.

DVSA Examiner members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have overwhelmingly voted to take industrial action over pay and conditions. Almost 1900 members of PCS in England, Wales, and Scotland voted by a margin of 90.5% on a turnout of 59.21% in favour of action. Dates of the strikes will be notified when they happen.

DIA Chief Executive Carly Brookfield said, “This strike could not have come at a worst time in terms of driving test recovery. Whilst DVSA was indicating the deployment of extra staffing resource was starting to have an encouraging impact on test waiting times, Examiner industrial action will inevitably set this progress back – with a continuing and very real impact being felt by pupils and driving instructors scrambling for test slots and juggling pupil demand and pressure.”

Backlog of tests

DVSA and PCS members are at odds over strategies to clear the backlog of driving tests, as well as being in an ongoing dispute  regarding pay and terms of service.

The ‘driver services recovery programme,’ spearheaded by Secretary of State for Transportation Mark Harper, aims to reduce backlogs to a 7-week national average by March 31, 2024. PCS believes the extra push on test resourcing jeopardises test takers’ and examiners’ safety significantly and erodes the terms and conditions of staff members, with the Union claiming that staff must cover 150,000 tests beyond capacity, while the core causes of the backlog are simply ignored.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “To recover a backlog of tests that was their own making, Mark Harper and management in the DVSA have demonstrated that they are willing not only to jeopardise our members’ safety and attack their terms and conditions. They are also showing scant regard for safety standards for driving test candidates.”

“But this huge ballot result for PCS members at the DVSA indicates that that they are prepared to take highly disruptive strike action across England, Wales and Scotland to protect the integrity of the driving test and their existing terms and conditions.

“Although they desperately want to see a reduction in waiting times, our members will not tolerate paying the price for political stunts and managerial failings that threaten to further undermine this vital public service.”

DVSA have issued the following statement:

“It is disappointing that the PCS ballot supports industrial action. We remain open to talks with PCS to find a resolution.

“DVSA colleagues do an outstanding job in helping to keep our roads safe.

“We are working hard to reduce waiting times, which includes employing new driving examiners on flexible contracts with weekend hours and asking more eligible managers and administrative colleagues to carry out driving tests full-time.

“In November 2023, 196,481 practical car driving tests were carried out as a result of examiners’ hard work and effort.

This is the highest since April 2007 and helped to reduce the monthly average national driving test waiting time to 18.3 weeks in November.”

The agency has further advised the following:

DVSA services during any industrial action

We (DVSA) know that you may have concerns about industrial action that might affect our services.

You don’t need to contact us.

We will update you on any impact on our services as soon as we have more information.

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