Driving agency closure plan 'a huge blow'

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The Independent Online

Union leaders today described the closure of an area Driving Standards Agency office with the loss of scores of jobs as a "huge blow".

The agency launched a consultation with staff over the closure of the office in Cardiff, South Wales, which will be completed by mid-April.

DSA chief executive Rosemary Thew said: "DSA is funded by the fees we receive from customers, and our duty is to spend that money responsibly, while maintaining a good level of service.

"That means being as efficient as possible in every area of our work and considering closely any areas of spending which may not be necessary.

"Staff will be properly involved throughout the consultation process on the proposed office closure and we will be working hard to make sure that their questions and concerns are answered."

The office will close by March 2012 and the agency said possible redeployment options for 87 staff were being explored.

Public and Commercial Services union official Peter Harris said: "The decision is a huge blow, not just to the staff who face redundancy, but to the whole public sector and the economy of Wales.

"It comes after other announcements like the closure of the Passport Office in Newport, which represent a major attack on our public services and a threat to economic recovery."

Martin Ogilvie, the union's negotiations officer responsible for the DSA, added: "This is a short-term decision, which DSA management admit will save only £4 million over 10 years.

"PCS is clear that the campaign to keep the Cardiff office open is not finished. We will continue to run a vigorous campaign and to ensure our members are protected."