Independent Motor Dealers Association thrilled as DVLA votes against ‘nightmare’ strike that left dealers ‘pulling their hair out’

  • IMDA welcomes news that DVLA staff have voted against strike
  • Chairman Umesh Samani says dealers can now ‘return to normality’ and ‘get back to running their businesses’
  • Boss previously told Car Dealer that strikes were making dealers’ lives a ‘nightmare’

Time 3 weeks ago

The Independent Motor Dealers Association (IMDA) has welcomed the news that DVLA staff have voted against walking out on strike, after boss Umesh Samani branded previous industrial action a ‘nightmare’.

Samani, chairman of the IMDA, told Dealer earlier in the year that dealers had been left ‘pulling their hair out‘ after strikes over Covid safety caused lengthy delays in getting paperwork returned.

There had been fears that further action could be taken, leading to yet more backlogs, but the staff voted against another strike earlier in the week.

Despite 80 per cent of those who voted saying they wanted to continue taking strike action, only 40 per cent of those ballotted actually voted.

That meant that the vote did not meet the threshold required of 50 per cent.

Samani says the low turnout shows there is an appetite to return to normality, much to the relief of dealership bosses.

He told Car Dealer: ‘I think it is really good news that they’re not going to strike and I think it was a really small percentage that actually voted anyway.

‘It just shows overwhelmingly that they don’t want a strike anyway which is fantastic news as far as all of us dealers are concerned.

‘We can now get on with running our businesses and hopefully the paperwork gets turned around quickly. I think it is fantastic news to be honest with you.

‘It is great for us that they don’t want to strike and it now allows us to get back to some sort of normality.’

Speaking exclusively to Car Dealer over the summer, Samani said dealers were ‘pulling their hair out’ because of the strike.

‘It is absolutely horrendous and a complete nightmare for all the dealers, to be honest with you,’ he said.

‘The online automated services are working great, which is a major benefit, but then the flip side of that is when you do have to manually send for the paperwork, cherished plates or V5s it is just so unpredictable.

‘I’ve got dealers telling me that they are still waiting for V5s from early March and when they phone up to speak to somebody, obviously they’re not being answered for days on end.

‘How are we supposed to continue selling cars to keep customers happy? It is just an impossible situation because sometimes there is just no way around it.

‘You do have to send off for things physically and then we’re in their hands really.’

The ballot on whether to strike, was carried out by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union.

Reacting to the result, a PCS spokesman said: ‘It is frustrating for members who have voted for industrial action that they have been denied their democratic right to strike, due to some of the most repressive anti-trade union laws in Western Europe.

‘Our members are our number one priority, and we will continue to campaign for their health and safety at DVLA and across the civil service.’

A DVLA spokesperson added: ‘We welcome the result of the PCS ballot today which shows that staff in DVLA did not support industrial action.

‘This clearly recognises that our workplace is as safe as possible and avoids further unnecessary disruption to millions of people.

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‘Our focus, and the focus for all staff at DVLA,remains on processing applications as quickly as possible and helping motorists across the country to continue on their journeys.

‘Fewer than half of PCS members turned out to vote in support of industrial action, this is just 17 per cent of the entire workforce in DVLA.

‘The overwhelming majority of staff, more than 80 per cent, did not support further strikes in DVLA.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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