Socialist Worker

DVLA moves to a ballot over coronavirus safety

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2742

The DVLA

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


Workers at a dangerously overcrowded government office in Swansea were set to ballot for strikes from Thursday of this week.

They are demanding that their bosses allow almost the entire workforce to work from home during the pandemic.

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.

After several online meetings of hundreds of workers, the PCS union has called a strike ballot, set to end on 11 March. The PCS will then have to give two weeks’ notice before a strike if it follows Tory anti-union laws.

So strikes may not go ahead until at least 25 March.

Earlier this year education workers in the NEU union refused to go into schools on safety grounds, using Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act. The PCS should encourage its members in Swansea to do the same.

  • PCS union members at 12 courts are balloting for strikes to demand the closure of all courts and tribunals in England, Scotland and Wales on safety grounds.

Pay cut after safety walkout

Outsourced cleaning workers at La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School in south west London who refused to work under Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act say they haven’t been paid as a result.

Thirteen workers who are members of the UVW union refused to return to work due to unsafe conditions last month.

And while the workers’ demands for the outsourcer Ecocleen to conduct proper risk assessments were met, the company has withheld almost a month’s wages.

Workers were balloted on whether to strike last month over cuts to working hours and unsafe conditions and recorded a 100 percent Yes vote.

All of the cleaning workers at the school are migrant workers from Latin America. Many say they may now have to rely on food banks.

  • Workers at retail chain Wilkos are set to hold a consultative strike ballot after the company announced plans to cut down on sick pay.

Bosses want to allow only one paid sick pay period a year.

The GMB union has said that if Wilkos don’t withdraw the plans then its members will be pushed to strike.


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.