An interim agreement has been reached between the DVSA and unions Prospect and the PCS in their long-running dispute over terms and conditions for staff at the government agency.

The agreement, which follows almost two months of talks at conciliation body Acas, provides for further negotiations between the DfT, the DVSA and the unions in the next few weeks to put a final resolution in place over the DVSA’s modernisation of employment and next generation testing (NGT) contracts.

It is anticipated a final resolution will be reached at the end of March.

Both unions began a series of strikes over their concerns about the contracts affecting staff such as driving test examiners, vehicle testers and roadside enforcement officers last November.

These were only suspended when the DVSA agreed to return to the negotiating table in early December.

Under the terms of the interim agreement, the DVSA will undertake three separate studies relating to driving examiners’ working time and flexible working options, as well as revisiting a number of issues in relation to the new NGT contracts including travel times, nights-away arrangements and holiday notice periods.

While the agreement is only temporary, both unions have sounded a positive note about it.

In a written statement, Prospect said: “Difficult and challenging times and discussions remain ahead, but with the commitment from the DVSA and DfT for negotiations… a glimmer of light may well be showing.”

The PCS, meanwhile, said “significant progress” had been made on the issues it was concerned with.

The DVSA declined to comment individually on the interim agreement, but a joint statement with the unions said all three parties were “very encouraged by the positive way these talks have progressed”.