Your campaign is our campaign

24 09 2013


SDLP MLA for East Derry has spoken ahead of an Assembly debate on the need to fiercely guard DVA jobs which are under threat of being re-directed to offices in Swansea.

Mr. Dallat who took a leading role in bringing the all-party motion calling for the jobs to be retained in Northern Ireland said:
Today’s cross party motion is only the beginning of a concerted campaign to win justice for the workers at County Hall, Coleraine and in the local offices of DVA throughout Northern Ireland.There is real injustice and inaccuracy in the arguments being advanced in favour of transferring motor taxation work to Swansea.
“Let us destroy the myth out there; nurtured by Headquarters in Swansea that in order to deliver electronic services for the motorist in Northern Ireland those services must be managed in Wales. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Since this so-called centralisation programme started a scandalous amount of overtime payments have been made to workers in Swansea because the system is fatally flawed. 
“Coleraine is an area of high unemployment, indeed the second highest unemployment black spot in Northern Ireland but the case for retaining the DVA here doesn’t depend simply on that tragic statistic. The satisfaction rate among customers of transactions here has consistently been measured as between 98.7% and 100% and that covers all transaction types, enquiries and services and all completed within ministerial targeted deadlines.
“In a recent survey of DVA customers, only 11% declared that they would prefer to ‘tax’ their vehicle using an on-line facility.  The other 89% declared a real desire to tax their vehicle using any one of the existing methods of renewing a vehicle excise licence.
“I am glad the Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has raised this issue at a meeting of the Executive and I sincerely hope that we can see a delegation from the Executive going to London to meet the Prime Minister to make this a political issue rather than a spurious economic argument which it is not.
“Tell me what is the point of the First and Deputy First Minster travelling the world looking for jobs when the British Government is dismantling jobs here at home under our noses?  It is plain crazy.
“I hope I am right when I say our patience is exhausted with the haemorrhaging of public service jobs from Northern Ireland under the guise of ‘efficiency savings’. It is political unity, cross party consensus and broad public support that will stop this process before it is too late.  This issue is too important for posturing and political point scoring.
“To those workers who have travelled to Stormont today I want to say to those workers ‘Your campaign is our campaign, from the backbenchers to the executive, from the First and Deputy First Minster to the Secretary of State and particularly to our MPs of all parties at Westminster, we are behind you and we will not stand idly by.’ 
“The term ‘solidarity’ became fashionable in political circles in the 1980’s when the shipyard workers in the Polish shipyard at Gdansk stood up to be counted.  If we can show the same kind of solidarity with our DVA workers we may not change the world in the way the shipyard workers did but we will have changed minds about the practice of robbing our people of jobs that can be done better and more efficiently here but are being shipped to Britain to shore up a regime what hasn’t a clue about the past and isn’t interested in our future.” 



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