Environment Minister Alex Attwood today gave his support to NIPSA members protesting about the threat to 323 jobs in the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Coleraine.
This follows the consultation on ‘Transforming DVLA Services’ announced in the House of Commons by Mike Penning, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport on 13 December 2011.
The concerns are that as Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea has UK-wide responsibility for vehicle licensing, they may choose to centralise functions with a knock-on impact on Coleraine.
Alex Attwood said: “I am very concerned about any threat to jobs, either in Coleraine or in local vehicle licensing offices, that may emerge from the ongoing examination by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency of the options for the future delivery of vehicle licensing services following the planned integration of IT systems next year.
“In correspondence to, and meetings with, Ministers in the Department for Transport, I have made it clear that there should be no reduction in jobs. Even if the new IT system results in more tax discs being purchased online or through Post Offices, there is still a wide range of vehicle licensing services that could be delivered by staff in DVA, either for Northern Ireland customers or for customers across the UK.
“I have emphasised to Ministers in Britain the exceptionally high standards of service delivered by DVA and also the special economic conditions in Northern Ireland, our reliance on public sector jobs and the need for time to rebuild and rebalance the economy. I have made it clear that now is not the time to be cutting jobs.
“I have met with and raised the matter with Mike Penning on a number of occassions and have raised the matter today with SOS Owen Patterson, who I intend to meet. I have provided a detailed submission to Justine Greening , the Secretary of State for Transport, who I have also requested a meeting with and I have advised NIPSA of my efforts which have been ongoing since June 2011”.