News : DVLA Call Centre Staff in Strike Action Vote Over Saturday Payments
London, UK, July 13, 2015 -- Around 650 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) who work in the DVLA contact centre in Llansamlet are facing pay cuts as a result of the cuts to allowances for weekend working. Management have also introduced what the union describes as 'inferior' contracts for new starters in the contact centre, which they say create a two-tier workforce.
The PCS says contact centre staff have always been paid double-time for Saturday shifts, which they are contractually obliged to work, but the DVLA is now threatening to halve the Saturday 'premium' from August 1.
Staff recruited after 1 January, this year already receive no extra pay for their Saturday shifts.
Paul Williams, PCS group president in the department for transport, said: "When members agreed to the new contracts last year, it was under the clear understanding that allowances, overtime and premiums were still up for negotiation with the union.
"The DVLA's argument is that retail and other service industry employees don't get paid extra on Saturdays so they don't need to pay it to their staff. But what they are really saying is that, whilst workers elsewhere in the civil service get extra weekend pay, South Wales is a 'low wage economy' and they can get therefore get away with paying less to Swansea staff. It's completely unacceptable."
In an indicative ballot, more than 98 per cent of PCS members in the contact centre voted to reject the cut to their weekend pay.
The ballot raises the prospect of severe delays for people accessing DVLA services through the call centre throughout the summer.
A DVLA spokesman said: "We are disappointed that PCS are balloting our Contact Centre staff over weekend payments.
"Staff have already voted to accept reduced Saturday premium payments as part of a package of changes to terms and conditions.
"We have contingency arrangements in place to ensure we continue to provide a good service to our customers in the event of industrial action."
The ballot opened on Friday, 10 July and runs until July 22.
Around 40 per cent of workers at the DVLA's Morriston site staged a strike last October, in a dispute over pay, job cuts and increased pension contributions.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is the organisation of the UK government responsible for maintaining a database of drivers in Great Britain and a database of vehicles for the entire United Kingdom. Its counterpart for drivers in Northern Ireland is the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA). The agency issues driving licences, organises collection of vehicle excise duty (also known as road tax and road fund licence) and sells personalised registrations.
Published: Tuesday, July 14, 2015