DRIVING examiners begin a 48-hour strike today in protest at the introduction of a new test which they say will mean working longer hours without extra pay.
The test, which was due to be introduced today, drops some parts of the old one and introduces new aspects, such as proficiency in use of satellite navigation technology.
The new system also means examiners will have to oversee more tests per day.
Thousands of tests are reported to have been cancelled by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) because of the dispute.
The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) laid the blame for the dispute at the door of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “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 the DVSA and the government.
“It’s time that the minister realised what’s been happening on his watch and took action to address it for the workers and for learner drivers.
“DVSA have cancelled thousands of tests next week due to their intransigence over a dispute they have had two years to resolve.”
In a PCS ballot, 84 per cent voted for strike action on a 70 per cent turnout.