A total of 92 test centres across south-east and south-west England as well as parts of Wales will be affected by the action until Tuesday 10 January as members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) continue strikes over pay, jobs and pensions. The union has already staged three weeks of action affecting DVSA test centres across England and Scotland, disrupting driving tests for thousands of learners.
Learner drivers in the south-east, south-west and Wales are now being urged to check if their practical test has been cancelled or rescheduled as examiners in their area join other civil servants in a wide-ranging series of strikes organised by the PCS union.
The strikes do not affect theory tests but do affect candidates sitting car, motorcycle, lorry, bus, coach and tractor tests in January, as well as trainee driving instructors sitting their ADI part two or three tests.
The action leaves learners who have already endured two years of disruption, cancellations and long waiting lists facing even further issues and the possibility of having their scheduled test cancelled again. Recent figures revealed that candidates in some areas face a wait of up to six months to get a test appointment as almost half a million learners try to secure a slot.
What if my test is affected?
Learners due to sit their driving test at one of the affected centres on a strike day can try to reschedule it themselves using the DVSA’s online service. To do so, you have to give three working days’ notice or you will be charged the full fee to rebook. You can check the last date you can change your test without having to pay again here.
If you choose not to reschedule, the DVSA says you should still attend your test appointment as scheduled on a strike day unless it has contacted you and told you not to go. If your test is cancelled due to the strikes, it will automatically be rebooked by the DVSA and you will receive details of your new test date within 10 days. You will also be able to claim out of pocket expenses if you travel to sit a test and it is cancelled.
When are driving examiners on strike?
The PCS strikes have been running since 13 December, affecting test centres in different parts of the country at different times. Action has already taken place at centres in North-east England and Scotland; North-west England and Yorkshire and the Humber; East of England, East Midlands, West Midlands and some parts of London.
The latest round of action affects test centres in London, south-east England, south-west England and Wales, and runs from Wednesday 4 January to Tuesday 10 January.
Which test centres are affected?
The PCS has given the DVSA a list of test centres where examiners will go on strike. The agency has also warned that other centres could be affected but it will not know this until the day of the action. Not all examiners are members of the PCS union, so tests at other centres could go ahead.
So far the full list of affected centres is as follows:
- Aberystwyth (Park Avenue)
- Ashford (Kent)
- Bristol (Avonmouth, Brislington & Kingswood)
- Burgess Hill
- Caernarfon LGV
- Cardiff (Llanishen)
- Enfield (Brancroft Way)
- Enfield (Innova Business Park)
- Exeter & Exeter LGV
- Gillingham & Gillingham LGV
- Hastings (Ore)
- Herne Bay
- Hither Green
- Isleworth (Fleming Way)
- Lee On The Solent
- Merthyr Tydfil
- Mill Hill
- Newbury (Hambridge Lane)
- Newport (Gwent)
- Newport (Isle Of Wight)
- Newton Abbot
- Oxford (Cowley)
- Pembroke Dock
- Plymouth & Plymouth LGV
- Southampton (Maybush & Southampton LGV)
- Tunbridge Wells
- Wood Green
- Wrexham & Wrexham LGV
PCS members working as Border Force officers at Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow airports and the port of Newhaven will resume strikes on Wednesday for four days in the same dispute.