Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/974/26582
The Socialist 6 December 2017 |
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Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test
DVSA strike: PCS assistant general secretary and Socialist Party member Chris Baugh (third right) visits striking driving instructers, photo Tracy Edwards (Click to enlarge)
Iain Dalton, West Yorkshire Socialist Party organiser
PCS members at Wakefield Driving Test Centre began two days of strike action on 4 December against attacks on their terms and conditions of work as part of a national dispute.
While much of the media coverage has focused on the strike being on the first day of the new driving test, most of the pickets' anger was focused around the 'flexible' working arrangements management are attempting to impose on them.
This includes being able to deploy staff to anywhere they choose without notice. On top of this, the time taken by staff to travel to these deployments is to be done on their own time! This also means that staff travelling to such deployments wouldn't be covered by the civil service 'injury benefits scheme'.
There are other issues such as test schedules facing staff, and also the removal of premium payments for working voluntarily beyond their contracted Monday to Friday hours, similar to attacks taking place in the retail and other sectors.
Despite this being the first strike for some pickets, they were well equipped with a gazebo, bacon butties and hot drinks.
Pickets were buoyed by the news that there were no tests booked in at the site on the first day of the strike - the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency offering for the first time in an industrial dispute to allow those booked in to cancel or rearrange for another day.