More than 60 Hackney traffic wardens will be striking for 24 hours starting today (September 22) in a victimisation and pay dispute, which will mean the number of parking tickets issued in the borough will slump dramatically.
The traffic wardens, also known as civil enforcement officers (CEOs), started their strike just past midnight today in their dispute with the international parking services company Apcoa, after talks at the conciliation service Acas broke down yesterday (September 21).
The CEOs are members of Unite and the union pinpointed the local hardline Apcoa management for the bad industrial relations record in Hackney.
Unite said an example of this was the fact that a union rep was currently facing disciplinary action for allegedly failing to fill in a holiday request form.
Unite had waged successful battles with the Hackney Apcoa bosses to ensure that the CEOs were paid the London ‘living wage’ of £9.40 an hour and that they also received company sick pay.
“Apcoa bosses in Hackney have form when it comes to poor industrial relations – and yet again we are having to take strike action to achieve justice in the workplace with this company,” Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said.
“The 24-hour strike will mean that the number of parking tickets issued will slump dramatically – an important revenue stream for Hackney council that awarded the contract to Apcoa.
“We call on the management to negotiate in a constructive manner, otherwise more strikes will be on the cards,” he added. “The disciplinary action against our rep needs to be withdrawn.”
Besides the victimisation issue, the strike is about the failure to resolve pay and conditions relating to unsocial hours working. Currently, there are no overtime rates – the CEOs only get paid the normal hourly rate for working weekends and evenings.
On the night shift – the firm will not agree to make this voluntary only and is offering a bonus of only £10 per night. When it comes to long service, Unite wants such service to be recognised, for example, by an extra day’s holiday.
“The employer seems to think that our members are machines without families, home life or the need for some leisure time,” Kasab argued.
“If our members are to work weekends and evenings then they must be rewarded properly. We will not stand by while our trade union representative faces victimisation through the use of spurious disciplinary allegations.”