Staff of DVLA has received pledge of payments worth £ 735 as government seeks to avoid strike risk exacerbating Backlog of tens of thousands of licenses awaiting renewal.
It is understood that the money will come in two installments, and has been offered as s 'it had nothing to do with the fact that the PCS union is currently voting for staff over new strike action.
DVLA employees have been locked out in a bitter dispute with management for months over securitye employees have been invited to work during the pandemic at the agency's headquarters in Swansea, where the PCS says there have been more than 900 cases of Covid.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has been under pressure to resolve the dispute, with the availability of licenses for heavy truck drivers seen as key to dealing with the shortage supply that has seen retailers warn of empty shelves over Christmas.
The DVLA said last week that it has 54,000 heavy truck licenses awaiting processing - many of which are renewals.
A safety and return-to-work agreement was reached in June with the DVLA management, but the PCS claims it was taken down at the last minute.
Mark Serwotka, PCS secretary general, told the Guardian his members had been unfairly blamed for the DVLA 's failure to develop plans to deal with the backlog of licenses awaiting renewal.
"Going to the civil service or the union is an easy way out for them," he said , adding, "There is a crisis there - and in any other organization you would expect they would want to find a solution when there was one there.
Turnout in the last PCS staff poll earlier this year was just barely above the legal 50% threshold to trigger action protest. If the PCS wins this time around, they plan to hold more safety shutdowns, despite the £ 735 payouts.
In the meantime, more of a thousand driving examiners have to agreeve for two days. next week in another department for Transport agency , the DVSA, on workloads.
Examiners, about 200 of them also test truck drivers, were asked to perform eight tests a day instead of the current seven - something the PCS claims is dangerous and would lead to burnout. Road Minister Charlotte Vere visited the DVLA on Thursday and met with staff.
Shapps recently announced that the military would be mobilized to strengthen the ability of the DVSA to offer heavy-duty testing, but the organization has not received any other additional resources to resolve the post-Covid backlog.
Serwotka said:" Both organizations have a dcommon enominator, namely that they are both in the Department of Transport - and the Department of Transport is really mismanaged and has a very bad industrial relations record.
He added that the Prime Minister's rhetoric in his party conference speech on a high-wage, high-investment economy does not appear to be correct. apply to workers like those in the DVLA and DVSA. "It seems like whoever they say they have in mind, it is certainly not the people on the front lines of the pandemic," he said.
A spokesperson for the DVLA said the staff payments were "local recognition awards ... [which] are part of a nationwide recognition program civil service and are in no way linked to industrial action ".