DVLA staff are going on strike for four days due to a row about Covid safety
Hundreds of civil servants will go on strike for four days from Tuesday due to a dispute over Covid-related safety.
Staff from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) based in Swansea, Wales, will take industrial action until Friday after negotiations about the issues failed to resolve their concerns.
The Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) have threatened further strike action if the necessary safety improvements aren’t made.
What are the staff’s demands?
Workers have requested that management reduce the number of staff working at the site, due to concerns over social distancing.
There was an outbreak of Covid at the offices last year but the DVLA said it has followed official health guidance for keeping staff safe.
The union said those involved will include operational staff who have not been working from home.
The DVLA said the strikes were likely to delay paper applications it receives as well as calls to its contact centre, but online services will still be available.
The PCS said progress had been made in talks, but it added that the lack of immediate moves to reduce numbers on site means the industrial action will go ahead.
Agreement had been reached on removing more than 300 desks, revising risk assessments which has led to a further 300 staff being sent home, and a commitment on how to proceed in talks over the coming months.
‘Risking the lives of staff’
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "That PCS members are prepared to take unprecedented strike action shows just how badly DVLA management have failed in their responsibility to keep staff safe.
"No civil servant should have to go on strike to guarantee their safety at work.
"It is inconceivable that this Government is allowing DLVA to risk the lives of its staff by forcing them into a workplace that is so clearly not safe.
"We call on the DVLA and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to enter into meaningful negotiations with the union, as we are determined to only send our members back into DVLA when the workplace is safe again."
A DVLA spokesman said: "DVLA has followed and implemented Welsh Government guidance at every single point throughout the pandemic as we work to deliver our essential services."