The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) confirmed strike action for civil servants including MoT workers across Northern Ireland for July 26th.
In Northern Ireland, tests are administered by government employees at approved centres. Testers have seen their workload and a backlog of tests increase after an increase of around 15,000 MOT bookings in the first quarter of 2019 alone. Drivers can expect a wait of up to 47 days to have their vehicle tested according to a report in the Belfast Telegraph. This shortage of testers and testing facilities is exacerbated by 2,300 motorists failing to present vehicles on time, or in some cases turn up for tests at all.
NIPSA confirmed the strike early in July as part of wider civil service action over pay and terms and conditions, demanding that civil service workers receive pay increases in line with that of Health Service, Local Government and Audit Office employees. The alliance also claimed that there have been attempts to ‘undermine civil servants’ terms and conditions of employment.’ In addition to strike action, NIPSA also called for ‘Action Short of Strike Action’ on the 29th. In a statement, NIPSA claimed that 68.5 percent of nearly 6,000 ballot respondents voted ‘Yes’ for strike action.
“It is clear that members have sent a strong message that they are not prepared to accept a below inflation pay increase for 2018/19 and demand that the pay negotiations are reopened to ensure that civil servants receive an above inflation increase,” read a NIPSA statement.
The Northern Ireland Assembly has not sat since January 2017, meaning decisions on matters, such as increasing the number of MOT centres to meet demand, have not been taken.