Motorists seeking new driver’s licenses or vehicle registration books face a “catastrophic” backlog at the government agency that handles them as the administration puts staff at risk, a union has claimed.
Paper applications for license renewals, new vehicle registration books and new driver’s licenses are taking up to 10 weeks to process, with an estimated 1.4 million applications currently stuck in the backlog.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), told MPs that the large number of Covid cases among staff was due to management’s decision not to allow them to work from home, and said that the Strike over conditions was worsening retention. -UPS.
He told the Transport Selection Committee: “The DVLA has had the largest Covid outbreak of any workplace in the UK.
“It has functioned from the central Cabinet Office guidelines for handling the Covid pandemic. It has made management decisions that we believe put people at risk.”
There have been 643 cases of Covid, including one death, among staff at the DVLA offices in Swansea and Mr. Serwotka blamed this on the number of people who had to work in an office rather than from home.
He claimed that no other government office had experienced similar outbreaks of the virus, adding: “None of them require the same number of people to work as the DVLA and they have all been able to hand over their businesses, including DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) and HMRC. (HM Revenue and Customs), with staff working from home.
“The reality is that at DVLA we were told that ‘management did not trust’ lower-ranking workers to work from home ‘because they couldn’t supervise them.’
He also said that the strike over conditions was now the cause of the delays. However, DVLA Executive Director Julie Lennard denied this.
He said that about a third of the delays were due to industrial action, and the rest were caused by the cap on the number of personnel due to social distancing rules.
She told the committee that she did not accept that there was a “cultural problem” by refusing to allow staff to work from home. He said 2,000 employees were currently allowed to work from home, but insisted that some functions had to be office-based as “huge amounts of personal data” were involved.
The PCS is planning a new strike over what it claims are unsafe working conditions in Swansea, claiming bosses had withdrawn an agreement on improvements “without explanation.”
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said an agreement was never reached because “the posts moved.”
She told MPs that even though the strike was voted “on the basis of Covid safety,” the union’s proposals included bonuses and additional vacations, adding: “I fought to reconcile that with the reason for the strike in first place”.
After the committee’s hearing, a DVLA spokeswoman insisted that staff safety was “paramount” to the agency.
He said security measures had been introduced, including weekly Covid tests and thermal imaging cameras that monitor the temperature of people entering the building.
The agency has also reorganized its offices in accordance with government guidance and has rented additional office space to allow more staff to return to work while maintaining social distancing.
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This notice was published: 2021-07-22 11:55:35