PCS lobbies Westminster against Coalition plans to axe more than 1,200 DVLA workers in centralisation, cost-cutting scheme

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MPs have been supporting a protest against coalition Government plans to axe more than 1,200 DVLA workers in a costcutting scheme.

Trade unions representing the loyal staff of the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency say apart from the impact on their members, customers will suffer.

And they do not believe that closing 39 DVLA offices, from Truro to Inverness, will save the £28 million claimed by the Department for Transport.

With a consultation ending on March 20, PCS followed up ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre’ protests outside local offices with a lobby of MPs at Parliament.

The union says closing down the DVLA’s network of local offices and centralising work at the Swansea HQ will cause:

  • Job losses, with 1,200 good-quality posts going, representing a significant detriment to the economies of the towns and cities involved
  • Reductions in service levels, as members of the public and the motor trade who currently get expert advice face-to-face will have to use the internet or Post Offices
  • Weaker enforcement of vehicle licensing, with implications for road safety and for agency revenues.

PCS organiser Berewyn Long told UnionNews they were fighting for the jobs of their members, but also for a vital public service.

He said they had been handing questionnaires to customers, and with 2,000 to 3,000 replies, they had yet to find one saying the offices should close.

“There is a concern, as the Government want to put the service online, but there may be a delay, so businesses and the public will be left in limbo.”

Dave Cliff, PCS national officer responsible for the DfT, said they wanted the consultation to be extended, to give more people a chance to respond.

However, despite an overwhelming majority in favour of keeping the network open, from the submissions received so far, they had no faith the Government will listen, and will look at balloting for industrial action if necessary.

Dozens of MPs attended the lobby to show their support, including Labour Ynys Mon MP Albert Owen, who is especially concerned about the Bangor office in North Wales.

He had constituents working in the branch, and he knew they did a good job, providing an important service to their customers.

“This is a continuation of centralisation – the Government talks about localism, but they are closing the local branches down,” he said.

They have to treat the public sector with respect.”


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