Socialist Worker

It’s time to use Section 44 at the DVLA in Swansea

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2741

The DVLA

The DVLA (Pic: Nigel Davies geograph.org.uk)


Hundreds of workers in a dangerously overcrowded government workplace in Swansea met last week after threatening to strike.

Around 2,000 people from Swansea and the surrounding area are currently made to come into work at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency office. More than 500 have caught coronavirus since September.

Workers were expecting their bosses to back down and allow most of them to work from home after the scandal hit the headlines last month.

Some 88 percent of those who replied said they were prepared to strike in a poll run by their PCS union.

Instead bosses have only offered a review.

One worker told Socialist Worker, “We want nothing but a skeleton crew on site immediately.

“The Department for Transport put out a statement that said reducing the number of staff on site will have no impact on the number of cases on site.

“It beggars belief. All the advice the government has put out about staying at home and social distancing, they’re saying the DVLA can ignore it and it will have no impact.”

Ballot

The PCS says it is “highly likely” to call a strike ballot.

It is also offering support to anyone who wants to leave the workplace on safety grounds under Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act.

But the union fears it will be taken to court if it advises workers to do this collectively.

The union has to prepare to defy any threats and encourage workers to use Section 44.

  • Privatised security workers in the Courts and Tribunals Service have voted to strike over pay.

The members of the PCS union want bosses at outsourcer OCS to pay them a living wage.

Workers are currently paid a maximum of £8.85 an hour.

It comes as the PCS is also asking Courts and Tribunals workers if they are prepared to strike to force workplace closures on safety grounds.

  • Workers in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are voting on whether to accept a pay deal between bosses and their union PCS.

The offer includes an average pay rise of 13 percent over three years, but means accepting detrimental changes to working conditions for some workers.

Building support for a strike is the only way to win a better deal.

 


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.