Hundreds of DVLA staff set for four-day strike amid Covid safety fears

6 April 2021, 17:50

Staff at the DVLA in Swansea will go on strike on Tuesday
Staff at the DVLA in Swansea will go on strike on Tuesday. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Hundreds of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency staff will launch a four-day strike amid concerns over Covid-related safety.

Members of the PCS union will walk out from Tuesday until Friday after talks failed to resolve the row.

The union said those involved include operational staff who have not been working from home.

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Further industrial action is threatened at the site in Swansea, South Wales, if managers do not make safety improvements the union is demanding, such as reducing the number of staff working at the site.

There was an outbreak of Covid at the offices last year but the DVLA said it has followed official health guidance for keeping staff safe.

The agency said the strikes were likely to delay paper applications it receives as well as calls to its contact centre, but online services will still be available.

The PCS said progress had been made in talks, but added the lack of immediate moves to reduce numbers on site means the industrial action will go ahead.

Agreement had been reached on removing more than 300 desks and revising risk assessments which has led to a further 300 staff being sent home and a commitment on how to proceed in talks over the coming months.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "It is inconceivable that this Government is allowing DLVA to risk the lives of its staff by forcing them into a workplace that is so clearly not safe.

"We call on the DVLA and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to enter into meaningful negotiations with the union, as we are determined to only send our members back into DVLA when the workplace is safe again."

A DVLA spokesman said: "The safety of our staff is paramount, and we have continuously adapted our measures over the past year and will continue to do so.

"There is currently not a single member of staff in the 10-day isolation period, out of a workforce of more than 6,000."

He added that the agency has "consistently worked with Public Health Wales, environmental health and Swansea Bay Health Board to introduce a wide range of safety measures".