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Recent DVLA strike causes disruption

Callers to the DVLA offices in Swansea will have found it difficult to get through last Wednesday (15th October) when almost half of the workers there staged a strike. The strike lasted 24 hours and was staged by workers that are members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PSC).

The PSC union stated that of the 72 staff at the call centre, only four arrived at work. A number of callers to the DVLA office complained after they were told that the changes they were waiting for to their vehicle registration documents, DVLA plates and private plates could not be processed because of the strike.

The union has placed the blame for the strike on what it calls a ‘triple whammy’ – a combination of job cuts, losses and an increase in contributions to pensions. It has stated that members have been hit hard by these changes. The general secretary of PCS, Mark Serwotka, said that the changes have led to a decrease in income that amounts to around 20% for the average DVLA worker, and for this the union places the blame on the coalition government.

Mr Serwotka has said that this is simply proof that the cost of living is rising but that salaries are suffering cuts, making it very difficult for those who are in low-paid households. He has also said that the strike action taken is a way for the union members to demand that the cuts come to an end. He has also said that millionaires are benefitting from tax cuts and that tax evasion has seen the loss of billions of pounds each year while ordinary people are being left to struggle.

A spokesperson for the DVLA has said that maintaining service for all customers is a priority, and that there were contingency plans in place to help to keep possible disruption from the strike to a minimum. The strike action did not affect the public’s ability to renew vehicle tax, SORN their vehicle, or apply for new driver’s licences and updates to existing licences via the DVLA’s website, which was in operation the whole time of the strike.

The government’s response to the recent strike has been to accuse the union of “irresponsible leadership” and has defended the cuts that have been made, describing them as part of a “long term economic plan” to bring down the deficit.

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