Unite said the decision by Hackney council to bring its more than 130 parking wardens back ‘in-house’ is ‘the way to go’ for those London boroughs still wedded to the outsourced, privatisation model.
The borough council decided this week that the wardens, also known as civil enforcement officers (CEOs), employed by Apcoa Parking (UK) Ltd, should come back under the local authority when the contract ends in March 2022. Work on this process will begin now.
Unite said that its long-running campaign to bring back under council control the troubled Apoca contract, which has been dogged by industrial disputes over pay and personal safety issues, is ‘a sign post’ for other London boroughs to shed their outsourced CEO contracts.
According to council documents, 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.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said, “This is tremendous news. Unite has campaigned, lobbied and taken strike action to win exactly the points now agreed by Hackney council.
“It has been a tough campaign, but it has resulted in a great win that should send a clear message to other councils in London that the days of the flawed outsourcing business model are numbered,” he added.
“We have highlighted who really owns Apcoa and the large profits they make. We have said that ‘in-house’ is better value for money for the hard-pressed council taxpayer.
“We have had to fight hard for better pay and conditions for the civil enforcement officers, including sick pay – a huge issue for those out working in all weathers during the pandemic,” Kasab continued.
“Our convenor and the Unite members deserve huge credit for patiently, but determinedly continuing the fight until victory was achieved.
“Hackney council is now signposting the way forward. It is time for other authorities to do the same. Bringing these services back in-house is cheaper, better and fairer.”
By Shaun Noble