Thursday, May 13News For London

Driving examiners start two day strike over pay, conditions and the new driving test

Young people attempting to pass their driving test today might be faced with their examiner on a picket line instead of by their side in the car.

The Greenford Test Centre still open for testing this lunchtime with no sign of a picket (Photo: Martin Steers)

Driving examiners who are part of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), one of the unions for civil servants, are striking today and tomorrow in protest against changes to their working conditions as well the new driving test that was introduced today.

Picket lines appeared outside driving test centres across London. In Greenford, examiners demonstrated this morning but had dispersed by around lunchtime. A member of staff who did not wish to be named disclosed that not many at the centre had gone on strike and that the centre was still open and the action had had little impact.

The DVSA have reported that just under a quarter of the driving examiner workforce went out on strike today.

“Despite PCS’s cynical and opportunistic attempt to disrupt the launch by calling strike action 92% of scheduled driving tests went ahead today,” said Lesley Young, DVSA Chief Driving Examiner. “Thank you to our customers for their patience and understanding during this unsettling time and to our driving examiners whose commitment and dedication made the launch of the new test a resounding success.”

These latest rounds of industrial action by the PCS are in relation to new contracts negotiated back in 2014 between the unions and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). The new contracts had been agreed by staff, and the DVSA are claiming that PCS are now bringing issues back up  under the guise of health and safety concerns with the new driving test that was introduced today.

“PCS’s shameful efforts to link the dispute to the new driving test in an attempt to broaden support for its unreasonable position shows a total disregard for learner drivers, who have worked so hard to be ready to take their test,” said Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA Chief Executive. “PCS’s pointless industrial action – over an employment contract they convinced their members to overwhelmingly accept 3 years ago – will not be understood by our customers.”

For anyone affected by the strike action, if you had attempted to take your test but were unable to because of the strike you might be able to claim out-of-pocket expenses via the process here.

(Sub: Jane Bracher)