Learners not told if tests are to be cancelled as driving examiners strike again

Learner drivers in Shropshire will still need to turn up for their driving tests, even though they could be cancelled due to strike action later this month.

Driving tests could be cancelled due to industrial action this month
Driving tests could be cancelled due to industrial action this month

More than 1,200 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union began another round of industrial action this week, with strikes planned throughout the month until March 28.

The walkouts, affecting Wales, England and Scotland, are over pay, pensions, job security and redundancy terms.

PCS driving examiners in London and the South East walked out on Monday for 24 hours, while in Shropshire, they are due to walk out on March 15 and March 20-21.

It follows similar strike action in December and January,

While the strikes will not affect theory tests, learners have been told practical exams could be cancelled.

But as some examiners have said they plan to strike without notice, driving instructors in the county say learners will not know in advance if their tests are affected.

Karen Jones, who owns KS Driving School, which teaches around 1,000 learners a year in Shropshire and Wales, said: "We won't know until on the day.

"Not all examiners are part of the union. In the last round of strikes our learners were not affected too badly, as we only had a handful of cancellations, but we just don't know what the effect will be this time.

"We don't know how many examiners in Telford or Shrewsbury will be striking, so learners will obviously have to pay to go to the test centre and to hire the car for the duration of the test without knowing if is is going ahead."

She added that if a test is cancelled, learners will be given a new date.

"This could be up to three months away," she said. "Some learners are able to get book cancellations themselves to get a retest sooner, but if we knew in advance if somebody was going to be affected we could plan for it."

She added that it was not just learners that are affected by the strike action but also trainee driving instructors.

"We have had one instructor who has had three tests cancelled. This has lost him around a year to get qualified, and as you are only allowed to hold a trainee driving instructor licence for two years, he doesn't have long left to secure a test and pass," she said.

A DVSA spokesperson said: “DVSA is working hard to keep any disruption caused by industrial action to a minimum, so as many much-needed appointments will go ahead as possible.

“We are putting in place contingency measures and are sorry for any inconvenience.

“We are advising all customers to turn up for their appointment as usual. Driving test customers who have an appointment on a day when industrial action is taking place are being contacted directly with further information if their driving test is affected. However, should they wish to, they can rearrange or cancel their booking in line with our usual policy.”

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