DVLA workers vote for strike action following Covid health and safety concerns

Workers at the DVLA in Swansea have voted in favour of industrial action. Credit: PA Images

Hundreds of workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency have voted for industrial action over Covid health and safety concerns.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union at the office in Swansea backed strikes by 71.6% and other forms of industrial action by 76.9%, on a turnout of 50.3%.

The union says the office suffered 'the worst Covid workplace outbreak in the UK', but more than 2,000 staff have been going into the workplace every day.

Unions have repeatedly called for more staff to be able to work from home. Credit: PA Images

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "This result is a damning indictment on DVLA management in their abject failure to keep staff safe.

"Our members have sent a loud and clear message that they are not safe at their place of work. The strength of feeling amongst staff comes as no surprise, given the management's disregard for the safety of their workers.

"Our members have been forced into this position and industrial action will take place unless management immediately implements all necessary changes to ensure staff are safe at work."

The union will seek to meet with management before deciding its next move.

PCS said it wants to see the numbers on site reduced to hundreds, and vulnerable people sent home, to either work from home of have special paid leave.

The DVLA says all Covid regulations have been observed. Credit: PA Images

A DVLA spokesman said: "DVLA has followed and implemented Welsh Government guidance at every single point throughout the pandemic, having consistently worked with Public Health Wales, Environmental Health and Swansea Bay Health Board to introduce a wide range of safety measures.

"This has enabled DVLA staff to continue to deliver essential services to the public right across the UK in a Covid-19 secure way."

"Any industrial action is likely to have a detrimental impact on motorists as we begin the first stages of the road map out of lockdown and the UK vaccination rollout programme is in full swing.

"We hope that PCS will consider this impact when deciding how it wishes to proceed.

"Cases of Covid-19 among DVLA staff remain low, and currently there are just five positive cases, including those working from home, out of a workforce of more than 6,000."