DVLA staff 'should be allowed to work from home' as Swansea Covid cases pass 1,700

The number of coronavirus cases have now passed 1,700 in the Swansea DVLA office. Credit: PA Images

DVLA workers should be allowed to work from home as coronavirus cases in their Swansea office have now passed 1,700 in the Omicron wave, ministers have heard.

Geraint Davies, Labour MP for Swansea West told the Commons: “A year ago, Phil Grant of the DVLA tragically died of coronavirus. He was a man in his 60s with a heart condition, who was previously allowed to work from home in the first lockdown and was forced to go to work.

“A year on, just pre the last Christmas, the unions and the management agreed after 700 cases of coronavirus at the DVLA that there should be new arrangements for people to work from home and a rota system to allow safety, and the Government intervened and stopped that being reinstated on the grounds Omicron wasn’t as dangerous. But since then, we have now got a cumulative figure of 1,700 coronavirus cases in the DVLA.”

Ministers heard on Thursday that DVLA workers 'should be allowed to work from home'. Credit: PA Images

Mr Davies asked Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay to intervene and allow the plan agreed by DVLA management and the unions “to be implemented for at least a couple of months”.

Mr Barclay said: “He will be aware under Plan B employers are encouraged to work from home where possible. I am very happy to flag the case to the Secretary of State for Transport (Grant Shapps) who oversees the body concerned.

“He will also know that the Secretary of State is balancing the need to address those employment issues with the importance of getting testing boosted for HGVs, and cars and others.”

A DVLA spokesperson said: "The number of positive cases at DVLA mirrors infection rates in the local community. There are currently fewer than 45 members of staff who would normally work on site that are self-isolating due to testing positive.

"The safety of our staff is paramount and colleagues whose work does not require them to be on site are working from home, which has no impact on applications being processed."