Strike by driver testers to go ahead tomorrow
Up to 300 candidates set to be affected by dispute over outsourcing
Filling in a form for a driving test. Up to 300 candidates are set to have their test cancelled tomorrow due to a strike by driver testers.
A half-day strike by driver testers is to go ahead tomorrow as part of a dispute over out-sourcing.
Around 300 candidates who were scheduled to undergo their driving test tomorrow will be affected by the industrial action.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has said people who have had their tests cancelled as a result of the strike would have these rescheduled, at no cost, as quickly as possible at times convenient for them.
The trade union Impact, which represents driver testers, said the strike would go ahead from 2pm as scheduled.
It said it would be the first strike in the 50-year history of the driver testing service.
Impact said the dispute centred on proposals by RSA management to outsource testing in breach of a Labour Court ruling which recommended the recruitment of a reserve body of qualified testers to avert any possible backlog in test applications.
Impact said management had since ignored the Labour Court-recommended process and instead moved to engage subcontractors instead of recruiting reserve staff.
He said management had breached its agreement with staff and had since refused to talk to the union about the issue.
The union said that a subsequent Labour Court recommendation in January this year was rejected by driver testers because the recommendation made no provision for talks on outsourcing arrangements.
The RSA has said in accordance with numerous recommendations and rulings by the Labour Relations Commission it established a panel of five reserve driver testers to assist in reducing the impact of short-notice sick leave absences on customers and to continue to deliver a high quality service.
It said this service would only be drawn down if required, in order to minimise any disruption that sick leave or absences causes to customers, and to ensure that waiting times of less than 10 weeks for a driving test continued to be met.
It said that in 2012, a total of 11,880 driving tests were not conducted due to sick leave taken by driver testers.
It said 8,200 of these tests were not covered from spare capacity and as a result, the RSA had to reschedule the affected candidates’ tests, free of charge, at a cost of €697,000 to the Authority.
The RSA stressed it was not replacing any substantive post with these reserve testers but supplementing the service to allow for sickness absence and training activities in order to deliver an improved level of service to the public.