Monday 19 August 2019

Driving examiners set to go on strike on new test launch day

Members of the Public and Commercial Service union plan two-day December strike, coinciding with the launch of driving test changes

By Ryan Hirons

Driving examiners are set to go on strike in early December, just as new test standards are introduced.

Planned for December 4 and 5, members of the Public and Commercial Service union (PCS) are set to walk out of the job in opposition of the new changes to the driving test — although the DVSA claim it’s over contract disputes.

These changes include the addition of a satellite navigation portion and revised reversing manoevures. These replace turn-in-the road and reversing-around-a-corner techniques, with a two-car length reversing action on the right-hand side of the road.

The new test is set to come into effect on December 4.

PCS claim up to 2,000 members of the union could participate in the strike.

Learners who have booked their test on either planned strike dates are advised to reschedule. They can turn up to the test centre but are warned their examiner may not be available — in which case, they will be refunded.

Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “The fact PCS is trying to undermine the launch of the new test by calling for strike action shows a shameful disregard for both road safety and learner drivers who have worked so hard to be ready to take their test.

The new driving test has been designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving. It is one step in helping reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads.”

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of PCS, said: “The actions of the Department for Transport in trying to force detrimental changes onto our members has backfired.

“Our members whose jobs are about ensuring our roads are safe for drivers and pedestrians have voted overwhelmingly to demonstrate that these changes are unacceptable. Ministers can avoid this strike action by instructing their officials in DVSA to scrap the plans and re-enter serious negotiations with PCS.

“If this strike goes ahead the blame lies squarely with the Government.”

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