Socialist Worker

Camden traffic wardens' win puts clamp on bosses

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2476

Traffic wardens on strike last month

Traffic wardens on strike last month (Pic: Guy Smallman )


A mass union meeting of traffic wardens in Camden, central London, has accepted a new pay offer from bosses.

The Unison union members have forced a 5.4 percent pay rise from the NSL outsourcer following 11 days of walkouts.

Traffic wardens and CCTV operators will now receive a basic rate of £9.40 an hour, up from £8.82, backdated from 1 April. The deal covers basic contractual hours, annual leave and sick pay, which is paid after three days.  

This is a real improvement—and marks an important step forward against union-bashing outsourcers. 

Workers were demanding £9.50 an hour and better terms and conditions. But they wouldn’t have won these concessions without going on strike and threatening to escalate. 

Camden Unison branch secretary George Binette said, “The action workers took—undoubtedly the week-long strike—had a real impact.”

Significant 

The new pay deal is also significant because it stands just above the London Living Wage.

George said, “This shows that the Living Wage should only be a minimum benchmark and that people have every right to fight for better pay.”

The dispute was also about terms and conditions.

“NSL has agreed, in principle, to talks at the Acas conciliation service about issues not directly linked to pay,” explained George. 

Bosses have also reduced the annual bonus pot from a maximum of £1,000 a year to £850 to make up for the basic rate increase. That’s a 15 percent decrease—down from their initial proposal to halve it. 

George said, “Parking is a difficult sector for unions to organise—that we’ve won a deal on another parking contract is significant.

“I think we need to coordinate with Unite and the GMB to stop the outsourcers’ race to the bottom.”

Workers didn’t win all of their demands. But the traffic wardens have shown that workers can beat union-bashing bosses.


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