DRIVING examiners from Irvine Driving Test Centre went on a two-day strike this week over changes to the new driving test.

In a dispute over the new test and working patterns, members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) took 48 hour strike action, resulting in thousands of tests being cancelled.

Across Scotland, and the rest of the UK, members took action on Monday (December 4) which ended at midnight on the December 5. In October, DVSA workers voted overwhelmingly (84 percent) for strike action on a majority turnout (70 percent).

The action is due in part to the imposition of the new driving test which has raised significant concerns amongst the workforce. In an unprecedented response to the dispute, the DVSA has withdrawn overtime from striking workers and imposed leave schedules.

Inevitably, this will exacerbate the existing backlog of thousands of tests. The strike action across the DVSA resulted almost 14,000 driving tests cancelled on the day the new driving test was launched.

Other effects of the action include reduced roadside checks on vehicles, reduced enforcement checks on lorries and other vehicles coming into the UK and a significant reduction of tachograph testing.

The union wrote to minister Chris Grayling last week, but have rejected the last minute response.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka commented: “PCS members in the DVSA have tried to negotiate around their concerns but the door has been slammed shut in their face.

“They now feel they have no alternative but to take industrial action to bring home to the public how damaging the DVSA proposals are.

“Learner drivers inconvenienced by this have our sympathy but the blame lies squarely with DVSA and the government.

Commenting on the Minister’s response to PCS’ letter, Mark Serwotka said: “This completely inadequate, last minute reply from the Minister to me is so disappointing.

“It fails to address the causes of this dispute in the DVSA. He repeats the misinformation of DVSA management that travelling time was settled three years ago. This is completely wrong. Some issues were resolved in 2015 but travelling time was left to further negotiations. These talks have failed as DVSA insisted on imposing new rosters.

“PCS members in DVSA showed their strength of feeling by the 84 percent vote for strike action. “Members from the other main union in DVSA have rejected it too.”