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Camden traffic wardens are all out for victory

The Labour council should tell NSL to pay up
Issue 2870
Powerful-looking group of Camden traffic warden strikers with banners from the Unison union

Determined strikers on the march on Saturday (Picture: Guy Smallman)

NSL traffic wardens marched through Camden Town on Saturday at the end of their fifth week of indefinite action to demand a proper pay rise.

The traffic wardens operate in the north London borough of Camden on an outsourced contract to the Labour council. They’re fighting for a pay rise to £15.90 an hour over one year. At their rally they were joined by other Unison union branch members as well as trade unionists and activists who brought solidarity.

They marched down Camden High Street and into the busy area around the market chanting, “What do we want? Pay rise” and “NSL, no slave labour.”

The strikers blocked traffic, used whistles to let passers-by know they were there and gave out leaflets. One striker told Socialist Worker she was “feeling strong” after the march. “Having everyone together was great.

“It was brilliant. We even caused a traffic jam, and there was a lot of beeping but most of it felt like it was in support. It was great to bring the strike into town too. I’m not sure how many people know about our strike so this is great for awareness and hopefully will have an impact.”

The striker also said the week’s pickets had been “fantastic”. “We’re enjoying it. The atmosphere is positive and we’re staying strong.

“To find out this week that our bosses got a 60 percent pay rise makes us even happier to be out striking. If that’s what they get, it’s what we can have too.

“Usually in the summer we’re sweltering in uniform and getting abused. Now look, we’re out fighting and staying together.”

Unison branch secretary Liz Wheatley said, “People have been absolutely solid, more so than our other strikes. We’ve got really high union membership now. We’ve had big and loud pickets, and this is our second march.

“The Tories try to make out like migrant workers bring wages down. But I’m proud because the majority of our members are from all around the world.

“They’re fighting to lift wages up and fight that lie. They’re showing that working class people can take the bosses on for more money.”

Strikers are now planning more rallies inside Camden council to put pressure on it to back the strike and force NSL into giving them a pay rise.

And they continue to hold meetings to discuss the direction of the strike, and how to hit the bosses hardest.

Striker and steward Joe thanked the Unison branches, including Barnet, Lambeth, Homerton hospital and University College Hospital branches in London, for their support on the pickets and donations.

“Our members have stayed solid and strong throughout these five weeks. We want to send a message to NSL management and Camden council,” he said.

“We are not going to stop until we achieve what we want. We are still going until they pay us properly.”

  • Messages of support to [email protected] Picket lines 7‑10am each day: Regis Road, NW5 3EW, 199 Belsize Road NW6 4AA, 13‑15 Guilford St WC1N

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