Hackney’s parking wardens are to be balloted for strike action over pay justice in the last year of the contract held by Apcoa Parking (UK) Ltd, Unite the union said today (July 5).
Hackney borough council decided in November last year – after a long campaign by Unite – that the wardens, also known as civil enforcement officers (CEOs), employed by Apcoa should come back under local authority control when the contract ends in March 2022.
However, Unite said that even in the last year of its contract the outsourcer’s bosses were ‘playing hard ball’ and refusing to enter into meaningful pay negotiations with the union.
Unite’s 36 members will now be balloted for strike action over the pay issue; the victimisation of a union rep; unfair disciplinary measures against staff; deductions of pay without agreement; and the imposition of shift changes without consultation. The ballot opens on Wednesday 21 July and closes on Wednesday 18 August.
Unite said its members are paid the London Living Wage currently £10.85 an hour. However, in-house parking enforcement officers in other boroughs are paid significantly more, for example, in Greenwich it is the equivalent of £15 an hour.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said,“Apoca Parking is a compelling advertisement for why outsourced contracts should be taken back in-house. Even in the last year of its troubled contract, the firm is ‘playing hard ball’ in denying our members a decent pay rise.
“Sick pay is just above statutory sick pay which is £96.35-a-week,” he added. “However, in-sourced parking enforcement officers at the other councils are paid six months full pay and six months at half pay.
“The company claims to recognise trade unions, yet adamantly refuses to negotiate until the union issues notice for strike action. It also victimises trade union representatives.
“Our members deserve a decent rate of pay and good employment conditions for the remainder of this contract,” Kasab continued. “It should not be forgotten that they are out in all weathers and have, on occasion, been assaulted by members of the public which is completely unacceptable. It is not an easy job and they should be remunerated accordingly.”
When the council decided last year to take the CEOs back in-house, council documents stated that ditching the Apoca contract would result in ‘certain savings’, including no longer paying performance payments under the existing contract. It would also tackle inequality by creating better job opportunities and improve staff morale, as well leading to a ‘well run’ and ‘high quality’ service.
By Shaun Noble