National & International

Strikes by Driving Instructors across the UK over pay

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According to the BBC.

A series of walkouts by civil servants across the UK will see more than 250 driving examiners and rural payment officers go on strike.

From 13 December to 16 January, members of the Public and Commercial Services union will hold rolling strikes.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and Rural Payments Agency are two of the many government agencies that went on strike.

According to the government, the union’s demands were unaffordable.

Several British government departments are represented by PCS, which calls for a 10% pay rise, better pensions, job security, and no cuts to redundancy terms.

From mid-December to mid-January, driving examiners and rural payment officers will stage the first wave of strikes.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said the strikes were the “the hardest-hitting industrial action the government will have faced in decades”, adding they will “cause a massive amount of disruption”.

“The government, which has spent years turning a blind eye to our pay demands, will no longer be able to ignore us,” he said.

“Our members are proud of their work, so it’s not easy for them to take action they know will affect the very people they came into the job to serve.”

Learner drivers have had long waits for tests in recent years due to a shortage of examiners and instructors.

There has also been higher demand for tests due to a backlog caused when Covid rules were in place.

In August, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said there were more than 500,000 learners waiting for their driving test.

The civil service helps develop and implement government policy, as well as providing services to people across the UK, including running prisons, employment services and paying benefits and pensions.

The PCS has previously said that an average of 86.2% of its balloted members voted for industrial action – the highest percentage vote in its history.

The union said it would announce further strike dates in other departments, including the Home Office and Department for Work and Pensions, over the next few weeks.

It is one of several unions whose members are striking over pay, with rail workers and Royal Mail staff also walking out in recent weeks.

UK inflation, which is the rate at which prices rise, is currently 11.1% and most unions have called for wage hikes in line with the rising cost of living.

A government spokesperson said: “We greatly value the work of civil servants across the country, but the PCS union’s demands would cost an unaffordable £2.4bn at a time when our focus must be on bringing down inflation to ease the pressure on households across the country, protect the vulnerable and rebuild our economy.

“Discussions will continue, but we can provide reassurance that we have comprehensive plans in place to keep essential services running and to minimise disruption if these PCS strikes do go ahead.”


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