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22 July 2019

Action Needed This Week To Prevent Further Backlog in MOT System

Following a meeting last week with Paul Duffy, Chief Executive of the Driver Vehicle Agency (DVA), regarding the significant backlogs within the MOT system, FSB Region Chair Brendan Kearney has called for staff and management to work together to reach a resolution and avoid further deterioration in the service if this week’s planned industrial action proceeds. He said:

“Our meeting last week was informative, and shed a lot of light on the many and various factors that have contributed to the creation of the significant backlog in the MOT system we are currently facing, which is having a considerable impact on our members. Those factors include changes in customer behaviour, with more cars being imported from Great Britain that are not, therefore, factored in to DVA’s planning assumptions when estimating the number of test appointments required in Northern Ireland. Whilst DVA have plans to relieve some of the pressure within the current system by offering Sunday and bank holiday appointments in the short term, and building a new testing facility at Hydebank in the medium term, there are longer term fixes required to prevent a recurrence of this problem. As well as improving their statistical models to ensure they can more accurately predict demand for their services, DVA requires a Minister to approve expansion and re-build plans at a range of test facilities, without which the current system will continue to creak under the burden placed upon it. Once again, we call on all parties to work together to restore the Northern Ireland Executive.

“However, of most immediate concern to us is the pending industrial action planned for 26 July, and we would urge all sides to work constructively towards a resolution as a matter of priority. We are deeply concerned at the impact that the current delays are having on small business owners across Northern Ireland, some of whom have resorted to travelling to England, Wales or Scotland at considerable cost just to ensure they can keep their vehicles on the road. The vast majority of small businesses and people who are self-employed are reliant on private cars and vans to conduct and access their daily business, from window cleaners to taxi drivers, salespeople to traders and any business offering a delivery service. Should the planned industrial action proceed, we would be seeking an urgent response to implement an alternative solution as our members cannot afford for this situation to deteriorate any further. Both staff and management must seek to address the issues under dispute to prevent any further damage to the local economy.”