Motorists in Hackney, north London, are facing a summer meltdown as the borough’s traffic wardens, members of Unite, have announced six days of strike action next month.
The 40 traffic wardens who are employed by private contractor APCOA Parking (UK) Ltd on an outsourced contract tendered by the council, will take six days of strike action beginning at just past midnight on Monday, July 9 and ending at 11.59pm on Saturday, July 14.
With no traffic enforcement officers in place, drivers will be able to park wherever they like without fear of punishment which will create chaos affecting local residents, in particular who face the prospect of being unable to park outside their homes.
The dispute concerns a pay claim for a five per cent increase from April 2018 as well as unfair and discriminatory working practices, including: unfair implementation of sickness procedures, unfair implementation of the annual holiday allocation and the need to enhance the long service award.
Unite has also written to all Hackney councillors asking them to intervene in the dispute. The letter said, “Our members have had knives held to their necks while at work. In light of this much underappreciated role played by our members and the dangers that they face on a daily basis, we do not think that it is too much to ask that they receive a fair pay award.”
An initial 48 hours of strike action took place in May which caused widespread disruption in the borough as well as creating a serious dent in APCOA’s revenues.
“Our members are determined to secure a fair day’s pay for a fair days work,” said Unite regional officer Onay Kasab. “They undertake a challenging job in difficult circumstances and deserve to be fairly rewarded.”
“If the six days of strike action go ahead next month this will cause widespread disruption throughout Hackney making parking a lottery and could create a traffic meltdown.
“It is hoped that Hackney councillors will now step in and put pressure on APCOA to ensure a fair resolution.
“Strike action is only taken as a last resort but APCOA has constantly refused to enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute. It is hoped that APCOA will come to their senses and this dispute can be resolved without further disruption in Hackney.”
Unite will be attending talks at the conciliation service Acas on Wednesday, June 20 in order to try to reach a negotiated settlement. If those talks are not successful then the strikes will go ahead as planned.