Traffic wardens in Hackney, east London will take two days of strike action next week in a bid to get a proper sick pay policy provided by their private sector employer.
The 30 employees, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will strike against APCOA Parking, which has the contract from Hackney council to run the service, for 48 hours from just past midnight on Monday, August 3. The vote for strike action was 100 per cent.
Unite warned that the council will lose revenue from parking tickets not being issued and said that the chances of car users in the borough getting booked for a parking offence will be much reduced.
The focus of the dispute is that the traffic wardens, known as civil enforcement officers, have worse pay, and terms and conditions than council staff – employees of the same authority that hands out the contracts to private companies.
“We call on the APCOA management to get around the table to negotiate a pay and terms and conditions’ package that gives our members equality with council staff,” said Unite regional officer Onay Kasab.
“The main issue is that there is no company sick pay policy with APCOA Parking – our members only get statutory sick pay (SSP),” he added. “They have also rejected a 1.5 per cent pay offer for this year.
“The case that our members are making is that in their role, sickness absence is not uncommon because of the many incidents of abuse and assaults they suffer,” Kasab argued. “Yet all they get is SSP – it is not good enough.
He went on to add that traffic wardens are on poorer pay and conditions than the staff in local authorities that hand out the contracts to the private companies.
“This grossly unfair two-tier pay policy must cease,” he said.
The dispute comes against the backdrop of a Fair Deal For Local Government campaign by Unite’s London and Eastern region which has almost 300,000 members. The campaign is aimed against privatisation and austerity in local government.
The campaign is a set of proposals that Unite is putting to councils in the region. It is a procurement strategy to ensure that quality services are maintained and that there is no ‘race to the bottom’ for pay and conditions post any transfer.
Find out more about the campaign here.