Christmas shoppers in Portsmouth are enjoying ‘free parking’ today (Monday 23 December) as Portsmouth city council refuses to pay traffic wardens working to rule in a dispute that includes the imposition of targets for issuing parking tickets.
The traffic wardens, known as civil enforcement officers (CEOs), have refused to operate electronic handheld ticketing equipment and were instead going to use paper notebooks and tickets. Management has refused to issue staff with paper tickets though, telling workers they won’t be paid if they take part in the action.
The move by council bosses follows last ditch talks on Friday and the postponement of an overtime ban as a good will gesture by the CEOs, along with the refusal to lower or raise bollards or barriers and the enforcement of externally contracted pay and display car parks.
As well as ticket quotas the enforcement officers, who are members of Unite the union, are in dispute over an ‘unfair’ job evaluation exercise and unsuitable changing facilities. They voted by an 80 per cent margin to take action short of strike.
Commenting Richard White, Unite Convenor said “Our members have turned up to work today and have yet again been met with a belligerent attitude from council bosses. Civil enforcement officers have every intention of performing their duties, albeit on paper, yet have been told by doing so they will be classed as volunteer workers. Our members will remain on site and will await management instructions.”
Unite regional officer Ian Woodland added: “Christmas has come early for shoppers in Portsmouth today, but the ‘cut your nose off to spite your face’ approach by council bosses is draconian and would make even scrooge blush.
“Our members in parking have taken on a number of additional duties, but the council’s job evaluation process has failed to give them confidence that these additional duties are being fairly recognised.
“We’d urge the council to get back around the table and reach a negotiated settlement that addresses the concerns of our members.”
For further information please contact Unite regional office Ian Woodland on 07770 704480 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 07967 665869.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.