The DVSA, (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) will be hit by strike action again in February amid an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions between the agency and driving examiners. Members of the PCS Union employed by the DVSA voted in December in favour of action, citing the newly required weekend working as the cause of the walkout.

The examiners complain that they lack support if things go wrong when working Saturdays and Sundays. According to the union, weekend working is unsafe in their role.

All newly employed examiners are taken on with a contract that requires some weekend working each month. Examiners in post before the change in contracts only work weekends as voluntary overtime.

The DVSA has been informed by the union that strike action will take place on the 8th & 9th of February where all PCS Union members will be eligible to walk out. Additional action for newer examiners will take place on the 10th and 11th February.

Effects on DVSA Customers

The strike action will likely affect all DVSA Driving Test Centres during the four days of action. Where examiners are striking, the tests assigned to them will need to be cancelled and rescheduled. Unfortunately, the DVSA will not know in advance which examiners are taking part in the strike action.

Not all examiners are eligible to strike; only members of the PCS Union can walk out during the planned action. Members of the union may also choose not to walk out on any or all of the days that strike action is planned.

When a striker confirms they are not working on a strike day the DVSA will then be able to inform affected test candidates. This does mean that if you have a test on the strike days you may not find out that your appointment has been cancelled until just before the test is due to start.

The DVSA will cancel some tests in advance as a precaution, so you may receive an email ahead of time cancelling your appointment.

If the action does affect your driving test, the DVSA will automatically rebook for the next available appointment. If this isn’t a doable date for you, you can contact DVSA Customer Services on 0300 200 1122 and reschedule it, even if it’s within the usual 3 working day notice period.

Compensation Claims to DVSA

If your test is cancelled with less than 3 clear working days notice you can claim compensation from the DVSA. The DVSA do not count Sundays or Bank Holidays as working days.

In this case, if the strike action on Thursday 8th February cancels your driving test and the DVSA don’t inform you by the end of Saturday 3rd February, you can claim back out of pocket expenses. You need to fill out this form:

You can claim:

  • If you have taken unpaid leave to take your driving test you can claim half a day of pay at your normal rate after tax and national insurance.
  • You can claim for the cost of vehicle hire. This is based on your instructor’s standard hourly rate and for a car test you can claim for 2 hours. The current Steel City Driver Training rate would allow you to claim £73.33 back from the DVSA. Your instructor has to complete part of the claim form for you.
  • You can claim a set mileage rate for travel to and from the Driving Test Centre in your own car.
  • If you have hired a dual control vehicle for your test, e.g. an Arnold Clark hire car, you can claim the full cost of this hire if you provide receipts for the exact amount and the date and time of the period of hire.

You cannot claim:

  • The cost of driving lessons ahead of your test.
  • The cost of any training course you arranged ahead of your test booking.
  • Any extra lessons you take between your planned test date and your rebooked test.
  • Any overtime or commissions you lose out on as a result of the driving test being cancelled.

Nick Smith is an Approved Driving Instructor working in south Sheffield. Along with automatic driving lessons, Nick is a driving test nerves specialist and offers theory support to learners. A former truck driver, Nick also presents Driver CPC periodic training courses to professional drivers.

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