L-test drivers fury at strike action

LEARNER drivers have hit out at unions after tests were cancelled in a strike over pay.David Cross, from Needham Market, travelled to the driving test centre in Bury St Edmunds yesterday morning only to find it closed.

LEARNER drivers have hit out at unions after tests were cancelled in a strike over pay.

David Cross, from Needham Market, travelled to the driving test centre in Bury St Edmunds yesterday morning only to find it closed.

The action was part of a pay dispute with the government and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).

The 18-year-old has now been left facing the prospect of finding another booking in examiners' busy schedules.

Mr Cross said: “It is ridiculous. I had built myself up for the test all morning and then it was taken away without warning. If I had cancelled without warning I would have lost my money.”

Mr Cross also said he had been taking intensive lessons at £40 a day in preparation for the test.

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Furious Jerry Cross, David's father, said: “Having booked a double lesson with his driving instructor to travel from Needham Market he turned up at the test centre and was turned away because of the strike. It was a total waste of £44 and now he has to wait for another convenient (test) date and another double lesson.”

Almost 2,000 PCS members working for the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) across the UK took part in targeted strike action in a dispute over pay, which led to the cancellation of driving tests.

The action is part of a dispute over pay involving the DSA, the Department for Transport and four other agencies. The strike saw driving examiners walk out for two-and-a-half hours.

Union chiefs have also announced they will supplement the strike action with an overtime ban involving all staff in the DSA over the Easter weekend.

Mark Serotka, PCS general secretary, said: “With starting salaries as little as £12,528, low pay across the department has been compounded by a series of below inflation pay offers, which in some cases amount to little more than 1%.

“Pay cuts in real terms and growing pay inequality do nothing for morale serving only to breed resentment and anger.”

A further strike is planned for one and a half hours on the morning of March 25.

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