Parking wardens to strike for two weeks over pay deal
Civil enforcement officers who helped make £28 million in profit ask for rise on £10-an-hour terms
01 December, 2018 — By Tom Foot
MORE than 100 Camden parking wardens will go on strike for two weeks in the run-up to Christmas.
The “civil enforcement officers” will down ticket machines as part of a pay dispute with Camden Council’s parking contractors NSL. Unison trade union members overwhelmingly rejected a new pay deal offered by the company, opting instead for the fortnight’s action starting on Thursday, December 6.
Camden Unison is demanding that the borough’s wardens, who currently receive £10 an hour, are paid at least £11.15. The London Living Wage is £10.20. Unison chief Liz Wheatley said: “There will be a significant loss of revenue for Camden Council and NSL. It’s a busy time of year for parking wardens, with all the dashing around and Christmas shopping. The parking service last year made £26million profit for Camden, and NSL made £2m profit. That’s all parking services.”
She added: “The top company director had a pay rise of over half-a-million pounds in the last two years. This is double what it would cost to increase the pay of every traffic warden to £11.15 an hour. They clearly have the money but aren’t prepared to end low pay.”
The wardens went on strike last month in a similar dispute and were joined by shadow chancellor John McDonnell on the picket lines.
NSL responded with a new pay offer, but it was worse than the previous deal, said Ms Wheatley. “Basically, the long and short of it was that it was 9 pence an hour less than the initial offer,” she said.
In the latest ballot, 97 per cent of members said they were prepared to strike. There was a 72.8 per cent turnout of the Camden membership. Three years ago, during a similar strike by wardens, NSL brought staff in from across the country and put them up in hotels. Companies cannot bring in agency staff to replace striking workers under employment laws protecting unions.
NSL was bought by Marston Holdings in January last year. Marston works for courts and local authorities across the country collecting parking fines, council tax and rent arrears, and congestion charge contraventions.
A statement from the company said: “NSL has made an improved pay offer which will ensure all of our employees are paid in excess of the London Living Wage for the next three years. We are disappointed by Unison’s decision to continue with industrial action, however we will take steps to ensure that a parking enforcement service is provided to the London Borough of Camden during this period.”