Disputes in DVLA, DWP, Parks (John Moloney's column)

Submitted by AWL on 1 June, 2021 - 2:32 Author: John Moloney
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Negotiations with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) over safety arrangements at the Swansea complex continue. A strike of contact centre workers there is planned for Wednesday 2 June. There’ll be a members’ meeting on 1 June which will discuss the dispute. Wales has a high vaccination rate, and bosses want to increase the numbers of people working on the site. We’re insisting that the union has a say in those decisions, and they’re not simply unilaterally imposed by management.

Our consultative ballots for potential action over workplace safety in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will conclude on 2 June. They’re conducted internally and electronically, so we’ll know the results straight away. My view all along has been that we should have proceeded with formal ballots, and, assuming the consultative ballots now return majorities, that will remain my view. There is a feeling amongst activists in the department that the management has raised the stakes by increasing pressure on job coaches to conduct more in-person interviews, and we need to respond in kind.

We will be in dispute with the outsourced contractor in Royal Parks by next week if they don’t agree to our demands by a Friday 4 June deadline. We’re seeking guarantees of no job cuts to cleaners’ jobs, as well as other demands around issues such as pay parity. I have been working closely with the United Voices of the World union throughout this campaign.

We also have another burgeoning dispute with an outsourced contractor, Mitie, which took over from Interserve and has numerous facilities management contracts across the civil service. On some of those contracts they’ve announced a change to the pay frequency and method, which could lead to workers losing money. Even though the move has only been announced on a few contracts, it is clear that all their contracts will go the same way in the end. That is why I have written to them asking for company wide talks and agreements. If these are not forthcoming then we will be in dispute with Mitie. We know that the RMT are having problems with Mitie as well, so if possible we should link up with that union to campaign jointly.

• John Moloney is Assistant General Secretary of the civil service workers' union PCS, writing here in a personal capacity

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