Industrial action by Prospect staff working for the DVSA looks set to run and run, after DVSA interim chief executive Paul Satoor said the so-called ‘modernisation of employment contract’ (MEC) at the heart of the matter would not be renegotiated.

In a letter to staff on 27 November - the date on which Prospect staff held the first in a series of full-day strikes over the terms and conditions in the contract - Satoor said around 95% of ATFs were unaffected by the action taken by vehicle test and roadside enforcement staff but that any adverse impact on customers was “regrettable”.

He also said the DVSA had set time aside on Friday 3 December (today) for talks with conciliation service Acas.

However, Prospect negotiator Helen Stevens confirmed she had not heard anything further about talks with Acas, despite the union confirming its willingness to the DVSA to suspend action for them. A second full day strike today (3 December) would therefore go ahead, she said.

Update: DVSA has said that despite today's (3 December) strike action 285 ATF sites out of 288 have carried out testing. 

In Satoor’s letter, a copy of which MT has seen, the DVSA chief executive also confirmed the “MEC itself is not up for renegotiation”.

Commenting on the impasse, Stevens said: “It’s really disappointing. The agency’s work is too important to be mismanaged like this.”

Asked if Prospect might consider augmenting its industrial action if the stalemate continued, Stevens said it would be “reviewing its strategy” during the course of the coming week.

Stevens also confirmed that while negotiations over the introduction of the separate ‘Next Generation Testing’ (NGT) contract for vehicle testing staff had broken down, the union intended to revive them once the MEC dispute had been resolved.

The DVSA has told MT only nine authorised testing facilities (ATFs) were affected by the strike on 27 November and only 27 were affected by the earlier, three-hour strike on 21 November.

Repeating earlier statements to the effect that the MEC, which covers all staff, was originally agreed with the unions back in April 2014, it added: “We remain open to negotiations and have already met with Acas. We are working hard to agree terms for talks to take place and doing everything we can to minimise any disruption to customers.”

The Public and Commercial Services Union has also been threatening to turn up the heat in regards industrial action involving DVSA staff.