Driving examiners across Britain struck on Thursday and Friday of last week. The PCS union members are fighting Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) bosses’ plans to increase their working day to fit in more tests.
Striker Ray Webb told Socialist Worker, “This is the best supported strike we’ve had.”
PCS represents 1,600 DVSA workers at some 350 locations.
Ray was picketing Mill Hill Test Centre in north London.
He said, “The longer hours will mean a pay cut, because there’s more work but no more pay. If you’re tired, and there’s headlights coming at you, and you’re trying to keep an eye on the person being tested next to you, it’s easy to see how you could make mistakes.”
The DVSA has admitted that it is understaffed by about 350 posts. But instead of taking on more people, bosses want staff to work harder.
Ray said, “Sickness levels are high. And for a lot of people that’s to do with stress.”
The strike will be followed by a work to rule. Ray said, “They rely on our goodwill to get everything done on time. But if we work to rule, a lot of tests won’t get done.”
The PCS said driving examiners face intimidation from managers who are trying to force the changes through.
The Prospect union, which staged a two-hour walkout on Friday morning, has also complained of bullying from management.
One driving examiner has faced a one-day suspension after following the work to rule.
The PCS is likely to announce further strike dates in response.
Paul Williams from the PCS national executive and president of the Department for Transport group executive spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity.
He said, “The picket lines have been really good. People have been clearly up for action.
“We’re likely to be calling further action.”