The Group Executive Committee for our members in the Department of Transport are preparing plans for a possible ballot of driving instructors. Instructors have been told they’re expected to resume driving tests after lockdown, but we don’t think that’ll be safe. Similar discussions about a possible ballot are taking place amongst our members working in courts.
The government wants to roll out mass testing to workers across a number of government departments, including DWP and Home Office. We support an expansion of testing, but there’s a lot that needs firming up. The tests they plan to use have a low accuracy rate, which could miss positive cases as well as generate false positives. We’re also concerned that it will be used to force people back to work – if someone isolates with symptoms, takes a test and gets a negative result, but is still clearly unwell, will that person be expected to resume work?
The risk of missing positive cases also means people could be forced back to work when they are in fact infectious. We don’t want this to be a means for employers to force people back to the physical workplace before it is safe.
• John Moloney is assistant general secretary of the civil service workers’ union PCS, writing here in a personal capacity