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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 June, 2004, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
MoT exemption for NI drivers
A vehicle test centre
Some vehicle test centre staff have been on strike since last month
A temporary exemption on MOTs for private vehicle owners in Northern Ireland has been laid down in the House of Commons.

The move is in response to a major backlog in vehicle inspections caused by ongoing industrial action.

If it is passed, anyone with a vehicle up for renewal can drive with out a test certificate.

It is believed the emergency legislation will not go through until later in the summer.

Civil servants in the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency are currently on strike.

Martin Woods, customer services manager with the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency, said drivers would still have to apply for an MoT.

We have been in contact with the Association of British Insurers and they are aware of the current difficulties at the moment
Martin Woods
Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency

"They will then receive a temporary exemption certificate and notification of a date for their MoT," he said.

"At the moment, the centres are closed, but the temporary exemption certificates will allow us to focus on vehicles where we can't issue temporary exemption certificates - such as public service vehicles, ambulances and so on."

He said vehicles must still be maintained in a roadworthy condition at all times.

"We have been working with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland and Police Service to ensure that people can get their cars on the road legally without the MoT."

He added: "We have been in contact with the Association of British Insurers and they are aware of the current difficulties at the moment.

"There are very few insurance policies which specifically require an MoT certificate."

Information service

Nipsa General Secretary John Corey said the latest situation was disgraceful.

"We want to be engaged in a process of negotiations to end this dispute so the people of NI can get all their public services back to normal," he said.

Nipsa members began strike action last month at nine centres across Northern Ireland.

It is part of a wider dispute over pay, which has began last December.

DVTA centres in Armagh, Craigavon, Lisburn, and Newry are unstaffed and no testing is taking place.

No testing is taking place at Belfast, Londonderry, Larne and Newtownards test centres, however some staff are providing an information service.
Nipsa has been involved in strike action since December
Nipsa has been involved in strike action since December

About 6,000 MoT tests a week, as well as practical driving examinations, are being affected by the industrial action.

Nipsa has been involved in strike action since December over what they said was the government's refusal to give civil service staff any cost of living increases in rates of pay since April last year.

The government has imposed a pay package which will add 3.67% to the wage bill of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

However, union officials say that was part of a pre-agreed increment and takes no account of the rise in the cost of living.




SEE ALSO:
MoT strike 'costing jobs'
21 Jun 04  |  Northern Ireland
MoT strike to continue
11 Jun 04  |  Northern Ireland
Call for change in MoT system
21 May 04  |  Northern Ireland


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