Employment

DVLA strike: Workers announce second walkout over 'Covid-related safety'

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea are to stage a four-day strike from May 4 in a dispute over Covid-related safety, the PCS union announced

 The DVLA in Swansea. Image credit: Zweifel / Wikimedia commons

The DVLA in Swansea. Image credit: Zweifel / Wikimedia commons

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea are to stage a four-day strike from May 4 in a dispute over Covid-related safety, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) announced.

The strike would be the second walkout in a year after employees went on strike in April over health and safety concerns at DVLA offices in the Welsh city.

Union leaders claimed the DVLA saw “the largest outbreak of Covid in any UK workplace” with over 600 Covid cases recorded during an outbreak last year.

The union said senior management had “forced” more than 2,000 staff to attend the Swansea head office daily and it hoped the walkout would address safety concerns while reducing the number of people on site.

PCS General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The arrogance and intransience of DVLA senior management is outrageous and our members have been left with no choice but to take further strike action.

“DVLA and ministers need to understand the levels of fear and anger within the workplace and that our union will support staff every step of the way.”

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The DVLA hit back at the union’s safety claims, insisting that Covid-19 levels remain very low among DVLA staff with one positive case currently recorded out of the agency’s 6,000-strong workforce.

The agency also claimed it had followed Welsh Government guidance at “every single point through the pandemic” and had worked with Public Health Wales, Environmental Health and Swansea Bay Health Board to introduce safety measures.

A DVLA spokesperson said: “It is very disappointing that the PCS is pushing ahead for a second round of industrial action in May which will affect motorists as restrictions are easing and the UK vaccination rollout programme is making such great progress.

“DVLA’s online services will operate as normal during this period of strike action and we advise customers to use those wherever possible. Those posting paper applications to DVLA or trying to reach our Contact Centre are likely to experience delays.”

DVLA workers are not the only ones to go on strike recently as the fallout from Covid-19 continues to impact on workplaces. Hundreds of Deliveroo riders went on strike in April over pay and working conditions while British Gas engineers walked out over the company’s ‘fire and rehire’ plans.

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