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DVLA workers demand explanation from Shapps over withdrawal of dispute deal

TRANSPORT ministers were accused today of scuppering a deal that could have brought an end to a bitter dispute at the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) over Covid-19 safety. 

Public-sector union PCS today delivered a letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps demanding an explanation as to why the agreement was withdrawn at the “11th hour.” 

The union alleges that ministers intervened to scupper a deal reached by PCS representatives and DVLA senior management that could have ended the months-long dispute. 

Staff at the DVLA’s Swansea office walked out in April and May over safety concerns with more than 500 cases of Covid-19 recorded there since September. 

Workers are demanding better safety measures including a reduction in the numbers of people required to come into the office. 

The DVLA insists that it has done everything to keep staff safe. 

The proposed deal, withdrawn last week, would have seen workers allowed to return to the office in phases and awarded one-off payments in recognition of their work through lockdown. 

After the deal was pulled, PCS announced a new round of strikes.

In his letter to Mr Shapps, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka urged for the deal to be put back on the table. 

“The only deduction we can make, given that the agreement had been drawn up with DVLA and DfT officials, is that it was withdrawn on your direction,” he wrote. 

Glasgow South West SNP MP Chris Stephens, who chairs the union’s parliamentary group, has also written to Mr Shapps raising concerns about how the department handled the dispute. 

PCS members held a protest outside the Department for Transport after handing in the letter.

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