Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Strike action over cuts announced

Driving test examiners are among the transport staff set to strike

Driving test examiners, coastguards and other transport staff are to take strike action from the end of the week in protest at Government spending cuts, jobs and pensions.

A two-hour walkout will be held on Friday by driving examiners, followed by a week-long series of short strikes in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said the Public and Commercial Services union.

Further strikes will be held throughout June by staff at the Department for Transport head office and several agencies including Highways and Driving Standards.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "With unemployment high and our communities suffering as a result of the Government's cuts, ministers should be providing all the help they can to local economies that are crying out for support and investment.

"Instead they're ploughing on with entirely unnecessary and unpopular cuts to vital transport services. These strikes across the whole range of transport services form a major part of our ongoing fight against cuts to pensions, jobs and pay."

Mark Peacock, head of BSM driving school, said: "Taking your driving test is a big day and can be nerve-wracking enough without the thought of strike disruption. However, candidates who have chosen to keep their test booking for the afternoon of June 8 should still attend their test so it can go ahead if possible."

Thousands of PCS members across the UK will be involved in the action. Revenue and Customs workers last week voted to take industrial action in a row over jobs and privatisation. The union said four out of five of its members had backed industrial action short of a strike, and just over half supported walkouts.

The Government is now facing a growing number of disputes, with doctors planning to take industrial action later this month, while teachers have warned of co-ordinated strikes in the autumn term if the bitter dispute over pensions is not resolved.

A DfT spokesman said: "We are disappointed that the PCS union have decided to take industrial action while we are still engaged in consultation with them about their concerns over changes within the department.

"Contingency plans are in place to ensure delivery of essential services to the public continues throughout the planned strike action."

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