UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour has accused the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency of badly mishandling the introduction of new working terms for its staff.
“I feel huge sympathy for the people whose driving tests have been cancelled this week as a result of strike action by examiners, who have walked out alongside other vehicle and traffic safety staff,” she said.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is pressing ahead with plans to extend the working day and increase the number of driving tests which examiners would be expected to carry out. Examiners claim the move could breach legislation on conducting elements of the test in "good daylight", as it would be impossible to conduct all tests in daylight hours during the winter.
Mrs Seymour said: “I do sympathise with these staff who are going to be taking on a greater workload, and I am concerned that forcing them to hold tests at night may well be illegal. The Public and Commercial Services Union is calling on the DVSA to conduct thorough research before making any changes, which seems a perfectly reasonable request. But in the meantime, the DVSA, the transport minister responsible, and the staff should all get round the table to resolve this for the benefit of all – the staff, and the general public who are sat on waiting lists.
“This whole situation has been badly mishandled. Strike action could have been easily avoided by properly consulting those who have to make the new regulations work.”
Last year the union agreed arrangements with DVSA for new working conditions to be negotiated, but official claim the agency is now trying to impose ‘detrimental terms’.
In the ballot, a massive 91 per cent voted for strikes on a 65 per cent turnout.