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Hundreds of DVLA staff to walk out in Swansea over pay dispute

Hundreds of staff at a DVLA contact centre in Swansea are to stage a three-day strike in a dispute over pay.

Hundreds of members of the PCS union at the Swansea contact centre are to walk out in a weekend pay dispute. Credit: PA

About 650 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) will walk out from today in protest at cuts to Saturday pay.

The union said staff recruited this year were not being paid an allowance for Saturday working, while others faced a 50% cut.

"This dispute is vitally important to everyone in the agency. If the employer is able to cut the pay of our members in the contact centre then it will inevitably seek to reduce the terms and conditions for the rest of DVLA staff. We have a shared interest in protecting our pay, terms and conditions and resisting the race to the bottom where our conditions are constantly compared to the worst paying bosses. Workers elsewhere in the civil service get extra weekend pay. There seems to be the idea that South Wales is a low wage economy and DVLA can get away with exploiting its staff there. This is completely unacceptable."

– Keith Johnston, PCS industrial officer
DVLA said that the strike could lead to a reduced service. Credit: PA

DVLA said in a statement that the strike could lead to a reduced service and longer waiting times.

"We are extremely disappointed PCS members at the contact centre are taking industrial action. Staff had already agreed to the changes to terms and conditions which offered a competitive and generous package.Our priority is to maintain a service to our customers and we have well established contingency plans to minimise disruption. Motorists are still able to apply online to renew their vehicle tax, declare their vehicle off road or apply for a new, updated or replacement driving licence."

– DVLA spokesperson

PCS members at the National Museum of Wales will strike on Saturday in a separate dispute over weekend allowances.

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Cameron uses Royal Welsh trip to announce jobs boost

Prime Minister David Cameron used his visit to the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd to make two announcements aiming to boost Welsh manufacturing.

That included highly skilled new jobs for Merthyr Tydfil as part of a multi-million pound deal with the defence company General Dynamics to assemble and service armoured vehicles.

Watch our Political Editor Adrian Masters's report:

So what is the SCOUT SV?

We get beneath the skin of the army's latest Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV).

Pre-production prototype. Credit: General Dynamics

General Dynamics describes SCOUT Specialist Vehicle (SCOUT SV) as a step change in the armoured fighting vehicle capability being delivered to the Army.

The programme has six variants:

  • Scout Reconnaissance
  • Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS)
  • Command and Control
  • Engineering Reconnaissance
  • Repair
  • Recovery.

The company says each variant will be based on a common platform which will be a highly-agile, tracked, medium-weight armoured fighting vehicle.

Pre-production prototype. Credit: General Dynamics

General Dynamics says each variant will have acoustic detectors, a laser warning system, a local situational awareness system, an electronic countermeasure system, a route marking system, an advanced electronic architecture and a high performance power pack.

The company was awarded £3.5 billion to deliver 589 SCOUT SV platforms to the British Army on 3 September 2014.

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Teenagers to get discounted bus fares

A new scheme offering 110,000 people aged 16-18 in Wales discounted bus travel is being launched by the First Minister in North Wales today.

The Government funds a fleet of Trawscymru long distance buses, linking areas across Wales. Credit: Welsh Government

Funded by the Welsh Government and developed in partnership with the bus industry and local authorities, the new scheme is designed to help young Welsh people travel to and from training and employment more cheaply.

It is vital that our young people are able to access jobs and training opportunities in Wales more easily. We recognise that travelling costs can sometimes be a barrier and this scheme aims to change that by making it easier and cheaper for 16-18 year olds to travel around Wales.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones

The Welsh Government has allocated £5 million to the introduction of the scheme in 2015-16, and a further £9.75 million in 2016-17.

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