Are driving examiners set to strike as they vent their anger at the extra work forced upon them by managers at the Driving Standards Agency?
Examiners currently conduct 7 tests per day in 57 minute long slots. As the agency panics to try and get the waiting list down after the Covid-19 cancellations, they now want examiners to conduct 8 tests per day. The problem is that they are not being given any extra time to do this; or any extra pay. An additional test each day will generate a lot of extra money for the agency, but none of this will be used to give examiners what they see as a long overdue pay increase.
A driving examiner’s job is time pressured; particularly at test centres in busy cities where traffic jams can often cause tests to run late. There is concern that the added pressure of trying to squeeze an extra test in will create unnecessary stress; and the PCS union’s viewpoint is that the welfare of staff is being overlooked by managers.
There is also concern that the only way to conduct 8 tests is to cut test routes; and to omit things from the test in order to save time. This could lead to a lower standard being accepted; and poor drivers passing owing to learners spending less time on the road than they do at present.
Apparently trials have been conducted which DVSA management claim to have been a success. These trials however were conducted at only a handful of selected test centres during the school holidays when the roads were at their quietest.
The examiner’s union claim not to have been consulted during the decision making process. They have asked for a full timing study to be carried out, and for proper research to be conducted into the affect these changes may have on staff welfare. Those requests have not been met and it seems management are oblivious to the strength of feeling amongst disillusioned staff who feel that their own concerns are being ignored.
The ballot for potential strike action will be taken on the 6th September.