Socialist Worker

Traffic wardens get ready for a five-day walkout to demand higher wages

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2621

Traffic wardens on strike in 2015

Camden traffic wardens on strike in 2015 (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Traffic wardens in Camden, central London are “very, very ready” to begin a five-day strike to fight for decent pay, on Monday.

Over 120 Unison union members, officially known as Civil Enforcement Officers, are demanding a wage of £11.15 an hour.

Camden council has outsourced the parking service to private company NSL.

Strikes in 2015 saw workers win a three-year pay deal that would see them paid 25p more than the London Living Wage (LLW).

The LLW currently stands at just £10.20 an hour.

Camden Unison said pay claims based on the LLW should use it as a minimum, not a maximum, for low paid workers.

A Camden traffic warden told Socialist Worker that they desperately need the increase.

“The cost of living in London is high, food prices are high”, he said.

He added that workers are angry about more than pay.

Suffered

Often working alone, and outside in all weathers, many of the traffic wardens have suffered abuse—much of it racist—from the public.

“We are assaulted, we are physically attacked and racially abused,” he told Socialist Worker.

“A few of our staff have been taken to hospital.

“We have been spat upon, beaten up—one of our staff was put into a van and driven off like a kidnapping.”

This anger means that a 92 percent mandate for strikes was delivered in the latest ballot.

Parking fines are a big money spinner for Camden council—they made £125 million last year. But none of that cash is being spent on the workers.

“They are telling us that the money we are making is not profit, they call it surplus,” he explained.

The traffic warden said taking action was necessary because “the management need a strike before the can provide a good answer”.

The action must go ahead unless NSL concedes all the workers’ demands.

Support the strikers, visit their picket line 7am-10.30am, Camden Car Pound, Regis Road, NW5 3EW. Send messages of support to unison@camden.gov.uk

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