Driving test examiners in walkout
DRIVING test examiners and coastguards will be among thousands of civil servants going on strike today in a long-running dispute over jobs, spending cuts and privatisation.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) at the Department for Transport and its agencies will walk out for 24 hours.
Thousands of other union members will stage lunchtime protests across the country in a continuing row over working conditions.
The strike will hit the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, DVLA, Driving Standards Agency, Highways Agency and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.
The union said staff were facing a wave of cuts, job losses and closures.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Despite all the evidence pointing to the fact that austerity isn't working, this Government is ploughing ahead with unnecessary and damaging cuts that will deprive our communities of vital public services."
The country-wide protests follow a Government announcement about a review of terms and conditions in the civil service.
Mr Serwotka said: "Amid an imposed pay freeze, and cuts to pensions and redundancy terms, the Cabinet Office now wants to undermine some very basic working conditions that any decent employer should offer.
"It is impossible to separate this from the Tory-led Government's wider political project to unpick the welfare state and drive down pay, conditions and employment rights across the economy, and we are determined to oppose it at every step."
The Driving Standards Agency said candidates with a driving test booked for today should turn up as normal despite the strike.
Chief executive Rosemary Thew said: "Not all examiners are members of the PCS union. Even if they are, we can't be sure that they'll support the strike.
"We're sorry for the inconvenience this will cause. We'll do everything we can to minimise disruption for our customers."
Mark Peacock, head of BSM driving school, said: "Taking your driving test is a big day and can be nerve-racking enough without the thought of strike disruption, so understandably this will cause concern to those taking their test today.
"However, candidates who have chosen to keep their test booking should still attend their test so it can go ahead if possible."