Socialist Worker

Ealing give sell-off plan a ticket

by Steven Ellis
Issue No. 2187

More than 40 traffic wardens and their supporters protested outside the Ealing council meeting that decided to privatise them, on Tuesday of last week.

The workers’ Unison union is deciding whether to ballot for action against the decision.

The council has agreed to re-privatise the service, despite only bringing it back in-house in November 2008 following the failure of a previous contract.

Over 2,000 people have signed a petition against the plan.

The wardens, known as civil enforcement officers, are vehemently against the privatisation.

Their Unison rep, Sahel Yusuf Ali, told Socialist Worker that staff are concerned about the impact of privatisation.

He said that conditions are much better in-house and wardens are able to provide a much more effective service.

The workers fear the erosion of their employment rights, holiday entitlement, welfare and dignity.

Yusuf Ali explained that fundamentally, parking enforcement is a public service which should be focused on keeping traffic moving smoothly, and not on issuing the maximum number of tickets possible as a revenue raising measure.

A recent Channel 4 documentary highlighted the pressure private firms put on wardens to reach targets in the number of tickets they issue.

This leads to more dissatisfaction from the public, more complaints, hostility and increased verbal and violent incidents towards staff.

Yusuf Ali said that in the last year of in-house service there has only been one violent incident against a member of staff.

An indicative ballot of the workers recently saw a 100 percent vote in favour of strike action should the service be privatised.

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Article information

Tue 2 Feb 2010, 19:19 GMT
Issue No. 2187
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