Unions round on DVLA claims of Swansea jobs boost
UNION leaders have rounded on claims closing regional offices of the DVLA could bring a jobs boost to Swansea.
The DVLA is looking to close its 39 regional offices and centralise its services in its Clase headquarters.
The move could affect 1,200 workers with the potential for 450 new jobs to be created in Swansea through re-deployment.
If all 450 posts were filled in Swansea this would still mean a total of 750 redundancies.
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Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said the decision was tremendous for Swansea but a move tinged with sadness at the closure of regional offices.
Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union industrial officer Mike Hallinan said: "It is deplorable that Cheryl Gillan should seek to portray as good news the closure of all DVLA local offices around the UK, with the loss of 1,200 jobs.
"This announcement is the Government's response to a public consultation in which there was overwhelming opposition — from within the motor trade, in particular — to their closure plans.
"Mrs Gillan talks about the 'creation of up to 450 jobs' at DVLA Swansea but these are not new jobs — they are being transferred from the 39 local offices now facing closure. Moreover, the figure of 450 posts has not been confirmed by management and there is no assurance that these would be permanent jobs as opposed to fixed term appointments. As part of the UK Government's programme of public sector cuts, DVLA is committed to making savings of £100 million over the five years up to March 2015.
"£32 million has already been cut, leaving £68 million to come.
"Management claims that the local office closures would save £26 million but they say this would not be realised until five years after the closures and the agency's chief executive has said that he wants to make additional cuts of £100 million between 2015 and 2020.
"Therefore, we see this not as good news for Swansea but as a step in the continuing process of job cuts at DVLA which will affect staff at Swansea drastically over the next few years.
"Our members in Swansea are devastated at the news that 1,200 colleagues within the Agency stand to lose their jobs."
DVLA chief executive Simon Tse said: "A top priority for us now is to support our staff who work in our regional offices.
"We will do everything we possibly can to provide help and guidance during what are clearly uncertain times for them.
"We are working closely with the Public and Commercial Services union and those members of staff directly affected to explore all avenues, including possible relocation to Swansea or redeployment within the Civil Service."
Phil Bushby, the DVLA's HR director, said: "There is a balance to be struck — we are hopeful that a proportion of the 1,213 staff affected by Wednesday's announcement will relocate here in Swansea but in all likelihood we will also need to recruit in Swansea as part of the centralisation.
"As we have already made clear, our long term direction is to increase digital services which means we will continue to run DVLA as efficiently and effectively as possible."