Union calls for full investigation into 'deeply concerning' death of Swansea DVLA employee

A union has called for a "full investigation" after the death of a DVLA staff member in Swansea.

ITV Wales understands that a male worker over the age of 60, with a pre-existing heart condition, died within 28 days of a positive Covid test.

The PCS union said it is "deeply concerned" and the circumstances around the employee's death must now be investigated.

The union also renewed calls for staff members to be sent home to work to reduce further risk.

It comes after DVLA boss Julie Lennard apologised to a committee of MPs for presenting what they called "misleading" figures on virus case numbers among staff.

A coronavirus outbreak was declared at the DVLA contact centre in Swansea last month and there have been more than 500 positive cases among staff since September.

The DVLA Chief Executive said that the large number of cases among staff from September onwards reflected a "spike in the local community". Credit: ITV Wales

PCS Union General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: "We are deeply concerned and saddened following the news of a staff member dying at DVLA.

"There must be a full investigation into the circumstances. There is no doubt that insisting more than 2,000 DVLA staff go into work every day is a recipe for further Covid cases and that increases the possibility of further deaths."

A DVLA spokesman confirmed the death and said their thoughts go out to the workers' family "and all those who were close to him".

They added: “Our focus throughout the pandemic is on staff safety and we continue to work closely with Public Health Wales, having implemented their recommendations, and we continue to follow Welsh Government guidance to ensure that our sites are Covid-secure.”

The DVLA Chief Executive assured MPs on Wednesday morning that all Covid health and safety measures were being followed at their sites.

Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris said "there are huge questions" that need answering concerning the incident.

"I want to know how it happened," Ms Harris said.

"How soon they were aware that this person was vulnerable and how did he contract Covid.

"There are huge questions here and I really do think the PCS calling for an investigation is the right and appropriate thing to do, and I fully support that call.

"We need to know what happened to this poor man and if there is anyone to be accountable then an investigation will be able to find that out."

The DVLA Chief Executive assured MPs on Wednesday morning that all Covid health and safety measures were being followed at their sites.

She also denied claims that staff are being told to turn off their track-and-trace apps.

Other employees have alleged poor cleaning practices, workers not spaced two metres apart and staff scared to enter the workplace.

Ms Lennard said from the very start, "staff safety has always been, and remains, a priority". She added that staff who can work from home are and they have systems in place in the offices, like "zones", to limit staff mixing with one another.

It comes as the Prime Minister said the UK Government is "working flat-out" to address the situation at the DVLA.