MoTs in Northern Ireland are to be disrupted from May 17, as a civil service strike already affecting vehicle licensing in the province spreads, warns the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI).
Strike action by members of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) is forcing seven MoT test centres to close for an indefinite period. As MoTs in Northern Ireland are run by the Government through the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency (DVTA), this will prevent MoT tests from taking place.
The strike will hit car sales as well as individual motorists.
Matthew Carrington, RMI chief executive says: “Second hand car sales in Northern Ireland will be brought to a halt by the strike. Dealers will be unable to sell their second-hand car stock, as they will be unable to provide an MoT. At the same time consumers will be unable to keep their cars street-legal if they cannot get a test, and without a valid MoT certificate they will be unable to tax their vehicles.”
He claims the strike would not have happened if the MoT stations were privately owned, and the RMI has been campaigning for nearly a decade to have the MoT in Northern Ireland privatised, to bring it in line with the rest of the UK.
“Privatisation of the MoT sector in Northern Ireland would be good for everyone,” says Carrington. “Even under normal circumstances, the average wait for an MoT test in Northern Ireland is 21 days, compared with testing on demand, or by appointment, in mainland Great Britain.”