Spanish driving examiners to strike due to attacks suffered by students they have to fail
Spain’s driving test examiners have announced that they will strike for 24 hours on 21 October.
The reason behind this is that they want to denounce poor working conditions, which include attacks on them carried out by students who fail their driving tests.
Many of the 700 examiners will travel to and congregate in Madrid to demand that something be done about these aggressions and to insist on better working conditions.
Since the middle of last month, around 70% of all examiners have carried out daily strikes lasting for three hours at a time, which has resulted in the suspension of more than 45,000 driving test examinations.
As well as demanding a revision of their salary, examiners are insisting that better security measures are put in place in order to guarantee their safety against suspended pupils who do not agree with the examiner’s decision that they have not passed their test. This type of attack has increased substantially since the start of the economic crisis.
In fact, last year, eight cases of aggression with injury ended up in court, while this year, the figure is already up to 15. This doesn’t include the many cases of verbal abuse or minor physical attacks.
Part of the problem, which examiners hope to change, is the fact that they are the ones that have to deliver the good or bad news to the student taking the test. They hope for that situation to be changed so that they or a third party can pass on the result the following day, when emotions are less tense, in a secure location rather than inside of the vehicle at the end of the exam.
Students are also more likely to react badly to a fail because of the current economic situation, the high cost of lessons, or the necessity to pass the driving test in order to be able to get to work or increase their possibility of finding a job.
Examiners and trade unionists say that they don’t understand why the system, which has only been in place since 2013, can’t be changed. Prior to this, the examiner passed on the result to the driving instructor, who then relayed the result to the student.
In addition, examiners are also complaining about the extremely long hours that they have to work, mainly due to a reduction in their numbers.
Currently, 550 examiners out of the 700 in total are working, and have to carry out an average of 13 driving tests every day. An increase in the number of examiners in work by 10 – 15% would ease the situation.
The syndicate for driving test examiners has stated that it is prepared to negotiate on all of its demands except for that of finding a solution to stop the number of attacks carried out on its members.
Due to the lack of positive response from the DGT (Department of Traffic), the case has been taken to the Department for Home Affairs.