Further driving examiner strikes every Monday are on the cards from mid-June to the end of July at least after Friday’s picket left 7,000 candidates unable to take their tests.
August will be strike-free to ‘give traffic authorities a chance to reflect’, after which examiners will down tools indefinitely in September unless they gain a satisfactory response.
As well as the cancellations of 7,000 driving tests for each day examiners are on strike, the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) will lose around €25 million in fees alone over 20 days of industrial action, says the examiners’ union ASEXTRA.
Some of the reason for the strikes is the DGT having failed to honour its agreement, signed in 2015 and requested in 2008, to give examiners a pay rise.
ASEXTRA says examiners earn the same as office staff, despite having to bear the added occupational hazards of road traffic accidents, assaults by failed candidates, and exposure to the elements including extreme heat and cold.
Also, an examiner shortage due to lack of funding means an average of 13 driving tests per day for each tester, says ASEXTRA.
Increasing their pay in line with the deal struck two years ago would come to less than €3m – and yet the strike action for the DGT failing to honour its commitment will cost it nine times this amount, ASEXTRA explains.
Friday’s strike saw 90% of examiners downing tools – in Madrid alone, 61 of the city’s 66 testers did not go to work and not a single practical test was carried out, for the first time in history.