Driver testers commence half-day strike

IMPACT driver testers picket the Road Safety Authority driver test centre at Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin

Driver testers have begun a half day strike today (Wednesday 2nd April) in a dispute over outsourcing. The action commenced at 2pm today. IMPACT has said that further stoppages could follow if the dispute is not resolved.

IMPACT said management at the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is proposing to outsource testing in breach of a Labour Court ruling (LC 20309), which recommended the recruitment of a reserve body of qualified testers to avert any possible backlog in test applications. The Labour Court recommendation set out a process for the recruitment of the reserve testers. 

IMPACT official Denis Rohan said management had since ignored the Labour Court-recommended process and instead moved to engage subcontractors instead of recruiting reserve staff. He said management had breached its agreement with staff and had since refused to talk to the union about the issue. 

A subsequent Labour Court recommendation (LC 20681) in January this year was rejected by driver testers. Mr Rohan said that this was because the recommendation did not address the union’s concerns about engagement  on outsourcing arrangements. 

Mr Rohan said management’s outsourcing proposals could also breach the RSAs own safety standards as it was not insisting that subcontractors hold the HETAC driver-tester qualification, which is a requirement for all RSA testers. 

“We regret the inevitable inconvenience that will now follow management’s decision to ignore our concerns on outsourcing and the breach of agreement with staff. We have decided on a relatively short stoppage to limit the inconvenience. It is important to note that this is the first time industrial action has been initiated by driver testers since mandatory driving testing was introduced on March 19th, 1964. It is a measure of how far these workers feel they have been forced into this action because management is refusing to deal with the issue,” he said.

Mr Rohan said that driver testers will be the only staff engaging in strike action today. Other RSA staff will not be involved in the action, and pickets on driving test centres will not obstruct the movement of staff in or out of the centres.

AUDIO: IMPACT’S Denis Rohan is interviewed on Newstalk’s breakfast programme and on RTE’s Drivetime programme with Mary Wilson(Wednesday 2nd April) about the strike action.