‘There were tears all round when we got the news, people are really scared and panicked, they just don’t know what’s ahead,” that’s how a staff member of the DVA described the mood in her office last Thursday, as news of the job losses filtered through.
The staff member, who did not wish to be named, praised the senior managers in Coleraine for their swift actions in meeting with their staff.
“The news was put out via email. To be fair to the managers they were only told about the decision one hour before we were told. They felt it was the quickest way to the the news out to everyone at the same time. They came round every office and spoke to staff, taking questions and answering them, if they could.
“People here are just numb, they are scared, shocked and angry - I have been here for over 20 years, this is all I have ever done.”
The staff member said that a comment by DVA Chief Executive, Oliver Morley, saying he ‘should’ offer sympathies to staff was a ‘slap in the face’ to the Coleraine staff. “It was like he was being forced to offer us sympathy, it was disgusting.”
DVA staff have been told that they will be redeployed to other posts, but the staff member we spoke to said that this ‘wasnt an option’.
“I understand that there is one post available in Ballymoney, a few in Londonderry, but the vast majority of civil service work is in Belfast - this is not viable for Coleraine staff. We are always hearing about work/life balance - how does this work if you have to leave for your work at 7am and don’t return until after 7pm at night? Officials need to look at bringing jobs to Coleraine - they owe it to the staff here.”
Despite the job losses hanging over the Coleraine staff, we can reveal that in recent years significant investment has been put into the County Hall building. which is owned by Roads Service.
In the last six weeks, DVA staff have just recently been given new PCs and chairs.
New carpets have been layed in offices and outside the building additional carparking spaces have been provided for staff.