Ealing motorists face motoring heaven on Tuesday (29 October) when the chances of receiving a parking ticket in Ealing will be slashed.
And cash-strapped Ealing borough council looks set to receive a financial headache with the potential loss of revenue of up to £25,000.
The reason for Tuesday’s parking paradise in Ealing – known as ‘the Queen of the Suburbs’ – will be the 24 hour strike by 59 traffic wardens – civil enforcement officers (CEOs) – in a dispute over pay; alleged bullying and harassment; and the whittling down of paid admin time to carry out the necessary paperwork.
The dispute is with NSL, which provides the traffic warden service for the West London council. About 250 penalty charge notices (PCNs) are issued every day at maximum cost of either £65 or £100.
The CEOs are represented by Unite, the largest union in the country, and the union’s regional officer Michelle Braveboy said that talks were scheduled for Monday (28 October) in a bid to settle the dispute.
But she said: “NSL needs to step up a gear in the negotiations if strike action is to be averted, otherwise there will be an acceleration in industrial action.”
The dispute has three elements:
• a rejection by the CEOs of a 1.5 per cent pay offer for 2013/14, at a time when household bills are soaring
• the failure to fully inform the CEOs, as agreed, of the introduction of ‘mystery shoppers’ who periodically and secretly monitor the CEOs’ performance and the number of tickets they issue. The union says this constitutes bullying and harassment
• the arbitrary withdrawal of 20 minutes a day paid admin time.
How NSL badly treats its staff in Ealing has already been the subject of a BBC TV investigation, broadcast in September.
Michelle Braveboy said: “Our members are in dispute over the unsatisfactory pay offer from the company and bullying and harassment which has been on-going for a number of years and escalated this year with the tactics used by the company to reduce staffing levels.
“A recent documentary undertaken by the BBC shows the pressure the CEOs’ are under not only from NSL, but Ealing council in regards to the issuing of PCNs.
“Unite has tried to resolve these matters, but so far to no avail and has been left with no option than to take strike action.”
Unite understands that NSL will be drafting in CEOs from elsewhere in London, but believes that the chances of motorists being issued a parking ticket will be greatly reduced on Tuesday, with the adverse financial impact for council revenues.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.