Workplace Report April 2021

Health & safety news

DVLA workers vote to strike over Covid concerns

PCS public and commercial services union members at the DVLA driver and vehicle licensing agency have voted to strike over continuing Covid health and safety concerns. The DVLA office in Swansea suffered the worst Covid workplace outbreak in the UK, but over 2,000 staff have been going into the workplace every day, the union said. It has repeatedly called for a “huge reduction” in footfall at the site.

Last month, DVLA staff told an ITV News investigation that their concerns over a lack of social distancing had been ignored, and some spoke of a culture of fear, bullying and intimidation.

“The testimony that DVLA senior management have bullied staff and have failed up until recently to guarantee desks are 2 metres apart is a national scandal,” said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.

“There has been a callous disregard for the safety of DVLA staff throughout this whole saga, underpinned by forcing over 2,000 staff to go into work every day since September. This is despite nearly 600 Covid cases since March last year, with the vast majority reported from September onwards,” he continued

The ballot returned a 71.6% vote for strike action and 76.9% for action short of a strike, on a turnout of 50.3%. Serwotka said the industrial action would go ahead “unless management immediately implement all necessary changes to ensure staff are safe at work”.