So why are driving examiners striking?
Examiners are classed as civil servants, employed by the crown. In 2010 the Conservative government introduced its ‘austerity’ programme. This meant a decade of pay freezes and well below inflation pay awards for most civil servants (apart from those at the top of course). For 12 years the pay of examiners has been steadily falling further and further behind the cost of living. What pitiful pay awards were given were often just a one-off payment which meant no increase at all in actual salary.
Many people are under the mistaken impression that civil servants have ‘gold plated pensions.’ Well if you’re a senior civil servant working in Whitehall that may well be the case. The majority of staff however are actually paid well under the national average wage and their pensions are no better.
In 2015 the government introduced changes to the pension scheme which meant that members were paying more in and getting less out of it. They lied about the cost of the scheme in their attempts to try and justify the changes. The PCS union took the government to court and won.
Members are still however, being forced to contribute 2% more than they should be doing. The court found that they had been overcharged by the government. So what did the Conservatives do? As usual they changed the rules.
In its attempts to save money during the age of austerity, the government attempt to change and bend more rules. They wanted to make staff redundant. In 2016 they tried to change the Civil Service Redundancy Scheme by slashing redundancy payments by 33%. So far the PCS union has prevented the Conservatives from doing this, but the fight still goes on.
What do you if you want your employees to work more hours for less pay; or to make weekend and evening working compulsory? You tear up the agreed contracts and try to bully the workforce into signing new less favourable ones.
New employees are being recruited on different contracts to the existing workforce. Every time a new contract is written they become less in favour of the staff and more in favour of the employer. They’re trying to turn the clock back to when workers had no rights and the employer was all powerful.
So despite the national media claiming that most disputes are simply over staff wanting more money; there’s often a lot more at stake that the public don’t get to hear about. Strikes can create a lot of inconvenience to the public, it would be far better if they didn’t go ahead. But equally, there are times when strikes are entirely justified.
When are the strikes taking place?
The strikes are on a rolling pattern across various areas of the country:
- Tuesday 13th to the 18th December – North-East England & Scotland
- Monday 19th to the 24th December – North-West England plus Yorkshire & parts of Lincolnshire
- Wednesday 28th to the 31st December and the 3rd of January – East England, East & West Midlands, parts of London
- Wednesday the 4th to the 10th January – London, South East & South West England, Wales
If your driving test is likely to be affected by the strikes, the DVSA will contact you by phone or email to let you know. Your test will automatically be rescheduled for another time.