On Thursday 6th May, the PCS Northern region held a solidarity rally for the DVLA strikers in Swansea. It was great to chair a meeting which gave an opportunity for our members and reps to hear from DVLA branch chair, Sarah Evans, ask questions about the dispute and the issues surrounding it, and to show their solidarity by sending messages of support.
Sarah spoke passionately about the issues leading up to the dispute and how the branch had strengthened and developed, with loads more reps and members getting involved, since the dispute began. It was a great little meeting. Our reps and members loved hearing from Sarah and learning more about the campaign, and Sarah enjoyed the opportunity to talk in detail about it all. A couple of reps messaged me afterwards to say they had learnt a lot from listening to Sarah and actually felt quite emotional about how the members were being treated there.
Sarah left ‘laden’ with messages of support, including one from our local Northern NEU branch, and after hearing from North East UCU rep, Jon Bryan, who joined the call to pass on his members’ best wishes, wishing PCS DVLA members every success in their campaign.
This was real solidarity in action and our Newcastle Local, who planned the event, agreed that virtual meetings give us a real opportunity to invite speakers from around the UK involved in live disputes, and allow us to share experiences and pass on solidarity greetings.
DVLA strike rally
Friday was the last day of the second wave of four days of strike action for PCS members at DVLA Swansea.
Early indications are that this week was even better supported than last time, with over 100 new PCS members joining to take part in the action just in the last week.
Sarah Evans, DVLA branch ably chaired the rally, which heard contributions from group president, Paul Williams, FBU General Secretary, Matt Wrack, Branch Secretary, Sofia Wickstead, Four MPs who had supported the campaign, including Lillian Greenwood who is a member of the Transport select committee and I was pleased to address the rally as the last speaker, on behalf of PCS.
The rally was upbeat and determined, with every speaker pledging onward support for a successful outcome.
Sarah was proud to report donations in excess of £38,000 had been made to the branch, including a £10,000 donation from the PCS NEC, the biggest donation we have ever made to a single dispute, and an indication of the absolute determination of PCS to win this dispute and support these members.
Sarah reported some hostility towards the branch had been shown this week, but that the support of activists across the movement, the public and their own members is what had strengthened their resolve.
Talks with the employer resume next week and a further members’ meeting is planned for next Thursday 13th May.
PCS members and reps have been fantastic throughout this campaign, further notice has been served for week commencing 17th May, and the pressure is now on management to resolve this dispute, protect our members’ safety and do the right thing.
Members are showing absolute determination to win this campaign and the Democracy Alliance led NEC has pledged to back them every step of the way.
Together we are stronger and United we will win. Solidarity to all DVLA strikers.
Northern Region Chair & PCS President
Fran Heathcote is standing for re election as PCS President as part of the Democracy Alliance.
The NEC ballot closes on the 13th May so if you haven’t voted yet please post your ballot paper this weekend.