Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 October 2004

"We're Not Faceless Bureaucrats"

THE BALLOT for strike action amongst civil service workers has begun.
After Chancellor Gordon Brown announced the slashing of 104,000 civil service jobs, the main union PCS reacted by calling this ballot for a national one-day strike on 5 November.
Every trade unionist and socialist should offer support to PCS members in this battle to save jobs and services.

I AM just one of over 4,000 staff employed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea. However, the fact that so many of us work there does not make us 'faceless' and somehow disposable 'bureaucrats' despite the recent claims by government ministers about the civil service.

Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) member, DVLA Swansea

We are ordinary working-class people with real lives, doing our best to provide an essential public service that plays a key role in maintaining this country's transport infrastructure, alongside the rest of the Department of Transport.

Everyone in this country who drives or owns a vehicle depends on the DVLA being fully resourced and adequately staffed - which is now under serious threat because of the government's plans to massacre civil service jobs.

The function of the agency is to maintain accurate driver and vehicle registers, issue drivers' licenses and vehicle registration documents and enforce Vehicle Excise Duty.

Our jobs are admittedly not the most exciting or glamorous then and members of the public are not always pleased with the fact that the DVLA collects road tax! Nevertheless, the PCS's campaign to defend jobs, pensions and public services deserves full support from the trade union movement and the public.

Ultimately, there's no escaping the fact that the civil service, including the DVLA, delivers essential public services that are under direct attack from New Labour, with its announcement of 104,000 civil service job losses. A minimum of 500 jobs are threatened in the DVLA but this is likely to rise to 700 and possibly more.

Already DVLA workers face a pressurised long-hours working culture of mounting workloads, high stress levels rewarded with low pay. Many staff work almost constant overtime - seven days a week, four weeks a month, virtually all year round. This is in an increasingly desperate bid to keep up with a rising workload, due to inadequate staffing levels and to earn the extra money for a halfway decent standard of living.


The job losses at the DVLA are part of the agency's target to make 5% 'efficiency' savings over the next few years. This includes reducing the amount of sick days workers take by one day per person by 2005. It doesn't take a genius to work out that this will make unbearable the already terrible situation stressed-out DVLA staff face if we accept it without a fight.

The DVLA is the largest employer in Swansea by a long way. The job losses here, including the threats to the pensions centre which employs 600 workers, the job centre and benefits office are a price the city cannot afford to pay.

The DVLA was originally opened in Swansea in the 1960s because the city was identified as an unemployment blackspot - that's why it's so important that we fight these job losses.


Management originally claimed that the jobs could be cut through 'natural wastage' with no compulsory or voluntary redundancies - by not replacing those expected to retire and having a 'recruitment freeze'.

This obviously represents a loss of future jobs for school leavers. Shamefully the right-wing leadership of the DVLA branch of the PCS initially agreed with management and told members not to worry!

However, members and supporters of PCS 'Left Unity', including Socialist Party members, were prepared to challenge this. We are doing our best on the ground to build the excellent PCS national campaign against the job cuts, an integral component being the ballot for a one-day national strike on 5 November.

Unlike the local branch leadership, we are in touch with the real mood of frustration and anger of DVLA workers - we think the potential is definitely there for DVLA members to vote 'yes' for the strike action.

We are committed to building for this and explaining the real issues to our co-workers. We are also trying to convince non-PCS members to join and get involved in a determined fightback that can win.

Copies of a Socialist Party leaflet for civil servants are available from

Post: PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD

Tel: Bill Mullins on 020 8988 8764

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 9 October 2004:

Strike Back At Job Cuts

Don't Let The Fat Cats Bury The Big Cat

Reject Agenda For Change!

Your Questions Answered

"We're Not Faceless Bureaucrats"

Building Support Amongst Other Trade Unionists

Can Blair See Out A Third Term?

Union Leaders' Rebellion Fizzles Out

Socialist Party feature

Forty Years of Fighting For Socialism

European Social Forum

International socialist news and analysis

Troops, Bulldozers And Resistance

As Politicians Talk - Sectarian Divisions Deepen

Tweedledum Or Tweedledee?


Home   |   The Socialist 9 October 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

trianglePCS ballots members on the pay cap

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

triangleSocialist Party PCS bulletin: Scrap the pay cap


triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangleMonarch abdicates responsibility to workers

triangleCapitalism and human progress


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot


triangleHeulwen Davies 1960-2014

trianglePCS rolling strike programme

Civil Service:

triangleCoordinated action needed to break pay restraint

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni



PCS ballots members on the pay cap


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice