Update: the driving examiners strike has been called off.
A driving examiners strike is set to go ahead in February 2024. The PCS union has failed to reach a settlement with DVSA management over working conditions.
Following a decision at senior management level, senior managers took steps to reduce the driving test backlog. Some of these steps have not proven very popular.
Managers, who were once themselves driving examiners, are going back on the road again. Anyone who holds a ‘warrant card’, meaning that the can conduct driving tests, must now spend the majority of their time testing again. Many of these people will not have conducted a real test for several years. So does this mean that the standard of testing is not as important as the length of the waiting lists?
Part of the problem of forcing managers into testing, is that examiner no longer have the support that they require. People are not answering phones; there are no replies to emails. The concern of union representatives is that DVSA are ignoring the safety and welfare of examining staff.
There is also concern over the number of hours some driving examiners are working. Large cash incentives are on the table for those who are willing to take on extra hours. Examiners can work up to 40 extra hours per month. This again compromises staff safety according to Mark Serwotka, the PCS General Secretary who said:
“To recover a backlog of tests that was their own making, Mark Harper and management in the DVSA have demonstrated that they are willing not only to jeopardise our members’ safety; and attack their terms and conditions. They are also showing scant regard for safety standards for driving test candidates.”
“But this is a huge ballot result for PCS members at the DVSA. It indicates that that they are prepared to take highly disruptive strike action. Action across England, Wales and Scotland to protect the integrity of the driving test and their existing terms and conditions.
“Although they desperately want to see a reduction in waiting times, our members will not tolerate paying the price for political stunts and managerial failings that threaten to further undermine this vital public service.”
Driving examiners strike dates are on the 8th, 9th, 10th & 11th February across all DVSA workplaces. DVSA are telling candidates who have tests booked for those days to still attend at their test centre unless DVSA contact them. An automatic rebooking will happen for cancelled tests. If rescheduled dates are not suitable then customers should call the central booking line on 0300 200 11 22.
There have previously been threats of driving examiners strikes which the union called off in recent years. Will they reach a compromise again? Or will relations between staff and managment continue to decline?