DriveTest Tallies Impact of USW Strike
Archived Articles 27 Aug 2009  EWR
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TORONTO, ON - – DriveTest estimates that 4,000 people per day have not been able to obtain their Driver’s Licence because of the current strike called by the United Steelworkers Union. 585 employees of DriveTest are represented by the United Steelworkers (USW).

“These are already tough economic times and preventing people from getting their driver’s license is not helping anyone,” said Paul Dalglish, Managing Director, DriveTest. “This strike is harmful to both our employees and our customers. We have been at the bargaining table from the start and are eager to get back to the table as soon as possible so we can restore services to our customers.”

“Given the impact of this strike on our customers and employees, we believe it is important that there be clarity over the issues in this negotiation,” said Dalglish. “The USW is opposed to the way we use supervisors and part-time employees to serve our customers, and they claim this has created ‘unacceptable working conditions’ for our employees. The fact is, we simply need flexibility to properly manage our services. That includes managing the very seasonal fluctuations in this operation.”

The DriveTest workload increases by 60% in the peak summer months. “Most people understand that large fluctuations in workload mean you have to adjust your workforce up and down to accommodate your customers,” said Dalglish. Fewer than 5% of DriveTest employees were laid off over the last two years – and that was one lay-off that lasted six to eight weeks.

It is this flexibility that has allowed DriveTest to decrease wait times for road tests from 9 months several years ago, to 1 month now. Customer Satisfaction has also risen from 77% to 90%.

“Given the nature of this service, we also need the option of requiring employees to work some extra hours when things are particularly busy,” Dalglish said. Mandatory overtime at DriveTest averages less than five hours per employee per year.

The variability of workload also means that DriveTest needs supervisors to contribute at busier times. “Imagine if you were a customer at a small DriveTest Centre in Northern Ontario that only has two or three customer service agents. If the USW had its way, the supervisor would be forced to sit behind the counter doing paperwork - even if the customers were lined up waiting for service. That is just not good customer service. The way we currently operate, that supervisor would jump in to help take care of the waiting customers.”

“The company is very proud of the work of its employees. We remain hopeful that the USW will return to the discussion and reach an agreement so that our employees can return to work, resume their regular pay cheques and provide their usual excellent service to the public.”
 
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