Traffic wardens in Ealing will go on strike this week in a move that could cost the council more than £25,000 in lost fines.
More than 50 wardens, known as civil enforcement officers, will take part in a 24-hour strike on Thursday (September 11) in protest at what they call a ‘miserly below-inflation pay offer’.
According to Unite, the union which represents the wardens, the walk-out of 52 wardens could lead to the potential loss of revenue of up to about £25,000. Unite estimates about 250 penalty charge notices are issued in the borough every day at a cost of £110, or £55 if paid within 14 days.
The 1.5 per cent pay offer has been made by NSL, which provides the service for Ealing Council. Unite point out it is well below the retail price index measure of inflation, which is 2.5 per cent.
This is not the first time NSL traffic wardens have taken industrial action. And last year they claimed staff were put under pressure to issue tickets.
Unite regional officer Michelle Braveboy said: “NSL (Ealing) is not known as a good employer – we had a similar dispute with the company over civil enforcement officer pay last year. Our members are seeing their living standards being eroded and this miserly offer is the last straw for the civil enforcement officers who voted overwhelmingly for the 24-hour strike.”
Among those who will be taking part is Patrice Samaro. He is the Unite shop steward and said: “Members of staff don't like the offer that the company are offering. We went through balloting and results were 100 per cent and the members are ready to take strike action against the company.”
He said with about 64 wardens available, the strike would see the vast majority taking industrial action, and would include those who monitor CCTV as well as street enforcement officers. Mr Samaro added there would be a picket line outside NSL headquarters at Exchange Plaza in Uxbridge Road, and representatives would be outside the town hall too.
He said: “We will be there to express our unhappiness with the offers. We believe that directly or indirectly Ealing Council is involved in the pay claim we have been offered.”
NSL head of communications Belinda Webb played down the impact industrial action would have. She said: “This year’s pay offer to our valued colleagues in Ealing is appropriate and fair. We don’t expect all colleagues to be on strike on Thursday, as not all are Unite members.
“However, we do have adequate cover in place, drawn from within NSL, to ensure safe and fair parking and to minimise road congestion throughout the borough.”
And Ealing Council warned motorists not to ignore parking restrictions. A spokesman said: “Although we’re disappointed to hear that industrial action is taking place, our contractor has assured us that it will maintain an effective service on the strike day. As usual we would advise drivers to comply with parking regulations or they could face a penalty charge notice.”
This is not the first time NSL traffic wardens have taken industrial action. Last year they claimed staff were put under pressure to issue tickets.