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From: The Socialist issue 1054, 4 September 2019: No ifs, no buts... Tories out now

Search site for keywords: PCS - Strike - Union - Workers - Nottingham - Agency workers

DVSA strike: action impacting; and the quickest reinstatement ever?

DVSA workers on strike, August 2019, photo by Gary Freeman

DVSA workers on strike, August 2019, photo by Gary Freeman   (Click to enlarge)

Gary Freeman, Nottingham Socialist Party

PCS civil servants' union members at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency are on strike for four weeks from 22 August.

There are various issues that the national dispute is about (see 'DVSA workers strike for four weeks over conditions and workload' at socialistparty.org.uk). In Nottingham the main issues for the workers called out are staff numbers, why long term staff not directly employed are not made permanent, and bullying and harassment.

Agency workers are not on strike but like other staff have shown support. One agency worker, told the Socialist: "At about 15:40 [2 September] I was given my notice with immediate effect. I found out from my agency it was for having my photo taken with you [pickets] all last Friday.

"Once leaving the agency I got a call offering my job back. A union member had called up to fight my corner. They can't sack me for supporting the union as I am part of the union. I was reinstated 36 minutes after being terminated."

A lesson to all agency workers as to why they should be in the union.

Apparently, the employer is using call centre staff (for the public) on the IT service desk phone line, logging and passing on the jobs to keep abandoned numbers down. Yet today [3 September] before half a day had gone, dropped calls are over twice as high as they would normally be in a full day.

Management clearly realise the effect the strike is having. They have resorted to sending letters to strikers saying they will soon receive a mock payslip with the estimated amount of deductions and also saying "we welcome you back to work at any time" - trying to scare strikers and also pretend to be caring; all to encourage members to go back.

But one striker, Jordan, said: "Morale is high, we feel we have had to go on strike to get a resolution to the issues around staffing, bullying and harassment."

Another said being on strike has meant they are now happy to come into 'work' because they're not looking over their shoulder all the time.

The union welcomes support at the picket line outside The Axis Building, 112 Upper Parliament Street, Nottingham NG1 6LP, Monday-Friday from 7am to 9.30/10am.

Donations and standing orders to the strike fund can be sent to:

Messages of support to:

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

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