The union’s response follows news that VOSA’s stations in St Austell, Cornwall, Steeton, West Yorkshire and Bredbury near Manchester are the first to be shut down under government plans to reform the service.
On behalf of Prospect’s 580 VOSA members, Negotiator Helen Stevens said: “While we welcome assurances that the 45 jobs affected by this decision will be transferred rather than lost, we fear this is the thin end of the wedge.
“Our members readily acknowledge that VOSA’s existing network needs to be upgraded and better located, but fear that this is the start of a cost-saving exercise designed to shed VOSA estate rather than improve access to facilities. These plans could ultimately damage the agency’s strategic capacity to test.
“Increased reliance on privately-owned testing facilities will force heavy vehicle operators to travel greater distances to find an approved site or use those owned by their competitors, both of which could act as deterrents.
“Given the current economic climate and the increasing number of businesses going to the wall, you also have to question whether now is the right time to look to private premises to provide the facilities for essential safety testing.”