Socialist Worker

Over 500 Covid-19 cases at DVLA Swansea

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2739

Coronavirus has ripped through the DVLA office, because of the bosses

Bosses have caused coronavirus to rip through the DVLA office (Pic: Nigel Davies/Geograph.org.uk)


Workers are “scared” of catching Covid-19 in a major government office where more than 500 people have caught the virus thanks to uncaring bosses.

Bosses at a Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) office in Swansea have forced nearly 2,000 people to come into work in dangerous conditions.

Call centre workers say they’ve been made to sit just one metre apart, while managers dismiss and ignore their safety complaints.

‘It’s profit over health always’—workers forced into unsafe workplaces speak out
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One worker told the BBC, “There are certain elements within management who are trying to bend the rules and regulations.” 

They said workers who have shown Covid-19 symptoms, or been in contact with someone with the virus, have still been made to come into work.

Paul Williams, group president of the Department for Transport section of the PCS union, has been speaking to workers in the office. He told Socialist Worker, “They’ve got people sitting back-to-back in the contact centres.

“What’s even worse is they’re asking staff to bring their own face coverings—DVLA has refused to provide those.

“The cleaning regime isn’t good enough. They’re not socially distanced properly."

Refused

Paul added that it was possible for most of those made to come into the office to work from home—but management refused to allow it.

“It’s not that the IT system doesn’t work at home,” he said. “They won’t trust staff to work at home because the system is linked to a police national computer.

“There’s been no solution for almost a year. They’ve put some screens in but it’s been spreading and spreading.”

Paul said the PCS would back all workers who want to take action over safety, including refusing to work under Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act.

“Members should use Section 44 where they need to use it,” he said. “As a union we’ll back the members if they want to strike.”


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