Socialist Worker

Turn vote for strikes into action at DVLA Swansea

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2746

The DVLA

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


Thousands of workers at a major government workplace in Swansea have voted to strike against unsafe working conditions.

Workers at the massive Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DLVA) office voted by 72 percent to strike.

DVLA bosses have forced more than 2,000 of them to keep going into work, despite major outbreaks of coronavirus.

One worker and PCS union activist told Socialist Worker, “The management has said that this workplace is safe. We’ve had the biggest outbreak of Covid‑19 in Britain—it’s not safe.

“If management don’t budge, then we will strike.”

Conditions at the DVLA became headline news in January after it was revealed more than 500 people working there had caught coronavirus. Workers complained they had been made to sit just one metre apart and that cleaning in the office was inadequate.

Home

Yet bosses refused to allow more of them to work from home.

A worker said, “People felt like they weren’t being taken seriously.

“Management said it was fine, but they’ve also started removing hundreds of desks—so which one is it?”

They explained that anger at the bosses encouraged workers to join the union and push for a ballot.

“There are a lot of people who have become reps and advocates in the union and that’s because of the experience of the last 12 months,” they said.

“We realised we can only rely on ourselves organising to change anything.”

The PCS shouldn’t delay in announcing dates for action.


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