NIPSA is aware of ongoing health and safety concerns regarding the safe operation of vehicle lifts across the vehicle testing centres. We are aware that the testing of heavy vehicles and vehicles pre-booked to the HGV lanes – lane 1 are unaffected but that, as a precautionary measure, the testing of cars on the car lanes has been suspended in 10 centres.
In a number of other centres some testing lanes have been closed. It is our understanding that the Department for Infrastructure, in conjunction with contractors, are taking steps to inspect all affected lifts and repair where possible but ultimately replace the lifts. NIPSA is satisfied that this is a proportionate and timely response to protect the health and safety of our members and the public. We will seek assurances that all the repair work is completed to the satisfaction of all necessary parties before the lifts are used again and will continue to closely monitor any repaired lifts.
Separately to this issue, NIPSA members who work in the testing centres will be on strike tomorrow (Friday 24th) in a continuing dispute over pay and conditions. The members are angry about below inflation pay increases which have resulted in pay cuts of between 15% and 20% over the last 9 years. We expect that this strike action will cause further significant disruption to testing across Northern Ireland but trust that the public will be sympathetic to civil servants’ demands for fair pay.