Around 1,800 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union working for the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) are balloting for industrial action over the threat of office closures, job losses and changes to working practices.
The driving examiners and administrative staff are angry at recommendations in a consultant’s report which the DSA is seeking to implement.
The proposals will see the closure of customer service units in Edinburgh, Birmingham and London, and the loss of approximately 80 jobs.
There has been no consultation with the union about the report compiled by consultants Symbia, which cost £300,000.
Paul Williams, PCS president for the Department for Transport, said, “We believe that instead of improving road safety and providing the public with a level of service they should expect that the recommendations the DSA is seeking to implement will have the opposite affect.
“The PCS will resist any attempt to close offices and change working practices.”
Lorraine Harding, a PCS branch rep in the DSA, told Socialist Worker, “Members are very angry about these changes.
“They don’t see how they will take safety forward. We are expecting a big turn-out in the ballot.”
Staff at the Electoral Commission last week voted overwhelmingly for the PCS union in a ballot run by management.
Some 85 percent voted for union recognition on a 74 percent turnout. PCS national organiser Nigel Venes said, “This is a resounding vote from staff at the Electoral Commission for a trade union.
“In an organisation that promotes democracy, we now expect Electoral Commission management to meet with PCS negotiators to talk about putting this in place.”
Some 8,000 PCS members working for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in ten Large Processing Offices across Britain are voting over industrial action in a dispute over the deskilling of work.
The ballot for strike action, and action short of a strike, follows the introduction of new working practices into HMRC called “Lean”.
Staff are reporting that they have to work in a culture of corporate bullying, with their work being deskilled and in some cases running the risk of repetitive strain injury.
The centres are Centre One for Glasgow and East Kilbride, Nema for Newcastle and Northumberland, Chapel Wharf in Salford, Sefton, Wrexham, Cardiff, East Hants & Wight in Portsmouth, Leicester and Northants, West Yorks and Craven in Bradford, and Lothians for Edinburgh.
The ballot closes on 5 July.
Members of the PCS union working in the Department for Work and Pensions in Luton struck on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The workers do not receive Outer London pay, even though they are in the same branch as other offices which do.
Gill Whittaker, the branch secretary for PCS Derbyshire Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) branch, was set to face her disciplinary hearing on alleged picket line offences on Friday of this week.
Gill has been at the forefront for the PCS’s campaign and strikes against job cuts across the DWP.
The branch and Chesterfield Trades Council are urging all trade unionists to support Gill by attending a peaceful demonstration outside her office at the time of the disciplinary hearing.
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