Driver licence transfer talks stall

23rd October 2012

IMPACT is to call information meetings for motor tax staff working on driver licensing because talks on Government’s plans to transfer the service from local authorities to the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have so far failed to reach agreement.

The union understands that management expects virtually all the staff concerned to remain in their current place of work, at least on an interim basis, when the transfer takes legal effect on 19th January. But it is frustrated that no agreement has been reached on the long-term position of over 200 staff concerned.

Earlier this year, IMPACT secured a management commitment that there would be no redundancies and that “no local authority staff will be forced to redeploy out of their own local authority” following the transfer.

However, the union’s Local Government division today heard that management failure to clarify how services could be sustained in the RSA has led to doubts over the future status of driving licence issuing and processing as a public service. National secretary Eamonn Donnelly told the executive that the issue was likely to end up in arbitration under Croke Park provisions.

Although the proposed transfer is between public service bodies, IMPACT says the limited capacity of the RSA could inevitably lead to outsourcing. The union believes this view is privately shared by management.

Earlier this year, IMPACT wrote to transport minister Leo Varadkar to say this could be a breach of the Croke Park agreement. The union has argued that, even without outsourcing, moving the service away from local communities goes against the public interest and could damage future service quality.

Management has set out its case for centralisation in a report by consultants Accenture. The union has established a Driver Licences Sub–Committee, which is expected to produce its critique of that report shortly.

The minister has argued that the transfer is necessary to support the introduction of a plastic card driving licence, which is required from next year under European Union law.

Keep an eye on the website for further updates.