Christina Rees, MP for Neath, pressed the Prime Minister about the ongoing health and safety failures at the DVLA during PMQs on Wednesday.
Rees asked the Prime Minister why it was deemed acceptable to return over 450 staff to the Swansea site, contrary to UK Government advice, as cases are significantly rising in South Wales. The DVLA has been subject to multiple Covid outbreaks throughout the pandemic, with staff taking industrial action in protest of the poor Covid safety measures and refusals to allow them to work from home.
An agreement had been reached between the PCS Union representing staff, the senior management and the Department for Transport, but was retracted at the last minute in an unprecedented late-stage development. With cases rising again, it is feared another outbreak at the site could be on the horizon if the Department of Transport do not cooperate with the PCS Union and come to an agreement.
Christina Rees also highlighted the online abuse and bullying that PCS Union representative at the DVLA, Sarah Evans, has been facing this week as a result of standing up for staff safety. The DVLA are refusing to remove references on the social media sites to an online petition that includes threats to the safety of the rep, with some DVLA managers even sharing the abuse online.
Christina Rees, MP for Neath, said:
“Constituents in Neath are right to be angered by the disregard for the safety of DVLA staff and the disgusting treatment online of one of their PCS Union reps. It is shocking that the DVLA are refusing to act to take down this online abuse, including a petition containing threats to the rep’s safety.
“It is imperative that the Department for Transport works cooperatively with PCS Union representatives to come to an agreement that puts staff safety first. Staff need to be properly protected against further potential outbreaks by making allowances for home working and the provision of additional safety measures onsite for those who need to go in.
“This dispute has gone on for long enough. DVLA staff deserve to be treated with respect by the UK Government and senior staff, and I will continue to work with the PCS Union to bring the negotiators back to the table.”