Son’s frustration after driving test cancelled due to strike action in Kettering

The driving test centre in Kettering
The driving test centre in Kettering

A learner driver due to take his test today was left frustrated after turning up to be told the examiners were on strike.

Francis Loughran contacted the Northants Telegraph to say his son had arrived at the Kettering test centre in Orion Way, Kettering, at 9am today ahead of his test at 10am, only to be told the examiners were on strike.

Mr Loughran said some instructors had been on strike yesterday as well as today, and he was unhappy that his son had not been made aware that strike action may affect his test today.

He said: “My son turned up and was told that the driving instructors were on strike and he couldn’t take his test.

“I find the whole situation ridiculous.”

According to the Public and Commercial Service (PCS) website, almost no UK driving tests went ahead yesterday (Thursday) due to strike action at the Government’s road safety agency in protest over its refusal to pull back from imposing worse terms on staff.

It said the vast majority of UK driving test centres were closed yesterday meaning driving tests were cancelled across the country yesterday and today (Friday) as examiners walked out alongside other vehicle and traffic safety staff.

The union website stated: “The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is pressing ahead with plans to extend the working day and increase the number of driving tests examiners would be expected to carry out.

“We believe the move could breach legislation on conducting elements of the test in “good daylight”, as it would be impossible to conduct all tests in daylight hours during the winter.”

PCS has more than 1,600 members who work in 350 locations across the UK, predominantly as driving examiners but also including officers carrying out vehicle and traffic safety checks.

The Northants Telegraph tried to contact the test centre in Kettering, but has not had a response yet.

A statement on the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency website said: “Some driving examiners who are members of the Public and Commercial Service (PCS) union are planning to take strike action all day on Friday 20 November 2015.

“Candidates with practical driving tests on these days should still come for their test.

“Not all driving examiners are union members, and even if they are, they might choose not to go on strike.”

Information is available on the website for anyone affected by the strike.

It says the DVSA will contact you with a new test appointment within five to 10 working days to rebook if you haven’t been able to take your test because of strike action.

People can claim out of pocket expenses if their test is cancelled, although they must have turned up for the test.

A statement issued by Paul Satoor, DVSA’s interim chief executive, ahead of the strike said: “We are sorry for any inconvenience and are doing everything we can to minimise any disruption to customers.

“Staff signed up to a new standard employment contract in April 2014 in exchange for a lump-sum payment and a three-year pay deal.

“This was agreed with the trade unions, and included transitional payments which came to an end on 1 November 2015.

“It is disappointing that the trade unions have now chosen to oppose some aspects of the contract.”

For more information go to www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-and-vehicle-examiner-strike-november-2015.