Thursday, 31 May 2012

Walkout in DVLA to kickstart rolling transport strikes

A walkout on Friday by staff in 39 Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency offices threatened with closure will kickstart a month of rolling strikes among the Public and Commercial Services union's 8,000 Department for Transport members.
The two-hour strike will involve the union's 1,200 members who work in the DVLA's local and enforcement offices in England, Wales and Scotland that the government plans to close.
This new wave of action across the DfT is designed to complement ongoing national industrial action being taken by the union against cuts to pensions, jobs and pay, which included a strike across the civil service, health and education sectors on 10 May.
As well as putting jobs at risk, the DVLA closures would wipe out the high quality face-to-face services these offices provide to the public and motor traders, whose often complex enquiries could not be handled by telephone or online.
The cuts to offices and jobs would also be a further blow to local economies and retail areas already struggling as a result of high unemployment and wage cuts.
The DVLA strike from 3pm will be followed from Friday 8 June by a two-hour strike by driving examiners on that date and a week-long series of short walkouts in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency against plans to close eight of the UK's 18 coastguard stations and cut more than 140 jobs.
Coastguard cuts would mean the loss of life-saving local knowledge around our coastline, and thousands of people have signed petitions and joined campaigns in coastal towns and cities where stations are under threat.
Further strikes will be held throughout June by staff in the DfT's headquarters and its seven agencies, including the Driving Standards Agency and Highways Agency.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "With unemployment high and our communities suffering as a result of the government's cuts, ministers should be providing all the help they can to local economies that are crying out for support and investment.
"Instead they're ploughing on with entirely unnecessary and unpopular cuts to vital transport services. These strikes across the whole range of transport services form a major part of our ongoing fight against cuts to pensions, jobs and pay."

- For information and press interview requests contact PCS's national press officer Richard Simcox on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216

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