Union in the driving seat as PCS kickstarts month of strike action

by - 1st June 2012, 7.54 GMT

Staff in 39 DVLA offices threatened with closure are today kickstarting a month of rolling strikes among 8,000 PCS members by walking out of work.

The two-hour strike will involve the union’s 1,200 members who work in the DVLA’s local and enforcement offices in England, Wales and Scotland that the government plans to close.

This new wave of action across the Department for Transport is designed to complement ongoing national industrial action being taken by the union against cuts to pensions, jobs and pay, which included a strike across the civil service, health and education sectors on May 10th.

As well as putting jobs at risk, the DVLA closures would wipe out the high quality face-to-face services these offices provide to the public and motor traders, whose often complex enquiries could not be handled by telephone or online.

The cuts to offices and jobs would also be a further blow to local economies and retail areas already struggling as a result of high unemployment and wage cuts.

The DVLA strike from 3pm will be followed from Friday, June 8th by a two-hour strike by driving examiners on that date and a week-long series of short walkouts in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency against plans to close eight of the UK’s 18 coastguard stations and cut more than 140 jobs.

Coastguard cuts would mean the loss of life-saving local knowledge around our coastline, and thousands of people have signed petitions and joined campaigns in coastal towns and cities where stations are under threat.

Further strikes will be held throughout June by staff in the DfT’s headquarters and its seven agencies, including the Driving Standards Agency and Highways Agency.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “With unemployment high and our communities suffering as a result of the government’s cuts, ministers should be providing all the help they can to local economies that are crying out for support and investment.

“Instead they’re ploughing on with entirely unnecessary and unpopular cuts to vital transport services. These strikes across the whole range of transport services form a major part of our ongoing fight against cuts to pensions, jobs and pay.”