Driving examiners are going on strike for the next 48 hours in protest against changes to the driving test, which come into force today.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will go on strike against the changes that will see them working longer hours for no extra pay. Examiners will go on strike across Britain today and tomorrow, meaning cancelled tests and disruption for learner drivers.
PCS members voted overwhelmingly for strike action as examiners say they will now have to work longer, harder and for the same pay, since the changes made by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have come into force.
The new driving test is the biggest overhaul the test has had since the theory test was first introduced in 1996. It has been updated to make it more appropriate for modern driving, and now includes driving while following a satellite navigation system and the removal of some outdated manoeuvres including reversing around a corner.
Independent driving has now been doubled to 20 minutes, too, and more relevant manoeuvres, such as pulling up on the right-hand-side of the road and bay parking, have been added. The “show me, tell me” questions will now have to be answered while driving, too, whereas before they were asked before the driving test started.
PCS general secretary Mark Serkwota said: “PCS members in the DVSA have tried to negotiate around their concerns but the door has been slammed shut in their face.
“They now feel they have no alternative but to take industrial action to bring home to the public how damaging the DVSA proposals are.”
Adrian Long, DVSA director of people, told Sky News that 320 additional driving examiners had been appointed last year, reducing the waiting time for a test to an average of seven weeks.
“It’s also significantly reduced the number of times we ask examiners to work at other centres – 1.5 days on average in the last four months,” he said.
“This means that we are not asking examiners to travel an extra day each week as PCS claim.”