‘Bleak Christmas’ lies ahead for DVA workers

County Hall in Coleraine.
County Hall in Coleraine.

DVA workers in Coleraine who have been kept going on temporary work from the Department of Social Development will see an end to that come Christmas.

East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat, who campaigned vociferously for the retention of the 300 jobs in Coleraine, asked the Minister for the Environment, Mark H Durkan, what co-operation he had received from other departments and from London in the lead-up to Christmas in relation to the future of the DVA workers.

In response to Mr Dallat’s question the Minister said: “I understand and sympathise fully with the DVA workers who are in limbo and who face great uncertainty. As a result of the Department for Transport decision, 272 DVA licensing staff became surplus.

“To date, 118 of those staff have been redeployed to other duties or cleared by other means; for example promotion or retirement and transfer to DOE posts, relocated by me from Belfast to Coleraine. In total, that was about 50 administration jobs.

“One glimmer of hope for staff there is a guarantee or assurance that I have received from the DVLA in Swansea that it will contribute significantly to an early-exit scheme for workers.

“It is geographically limited, but it is not limited to these DVA staff and could and should free up positions in the Civil Service in and around the north-west to which they can transfer.”

Mr Dallat told the Minister that while he appreciated the strenuous efforts he had made to alleviate the plight of those wonderful people in Coleraine he had to say that he was extremely disappointed that there had not been greater co-operation from other departments at Stormont who clearly failed to recognise the particular problems the DVA workers had faced in Coleraine which would now impact on the wider business community.”

Vehicle Licensing was previously administered by the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA), however the service was transferred to the DVLA in Swanseain July.