Camden traffic wardens were preparing to return to the picket lines this week.
Around 120 Unison union members were set to walk out in the north London borough for a 14-day strike from Thursday of this week. The workers are fighting back because bosses want them to live on poverty wages of just £10.20 an hour.
Officially known as civil enforcement officers, the traffic wardens are demanding an hourly rate of £11.15.
Strikes in 2015 won them a three-year pay deal of £10.20 an hour and a promise to pay them 25p above the London Living Wage. But despite the Living Wage rate rising, outsourcing fat cats won’t raise their pay.
In response, the predominately black workforce returned an overwhelming vote for strikes and staged a solid five-day strike in October.
The parking service is outsourced by Camden council to NSL.
Traffic warden David told Socialist Worker that NSL was “a big organisation” that makes “lots of money”.
He said since the last strike, bosses had come up with a different offer—but because it affects workers’ bonuses “it’s not good enough, so we’ve said no we can’t take it”.
David said they’d escalated to a 14-day strike because “we think it will affect their income more”.
“They made £25 million last year,” he said. “We expect a lift and for them to give us better pay.”
The strike is due to take place in the busy Christmas shopping period.
“It’s not easy to go on strike for two weeks but I believe it’s going to work—the money they lose will be massive,” said David.
Traffic wardens are lone workers for most of the time, and many endure racist abuse during work.
On the picket line at their strike in October Unison general secretary Dave Prentis vowed, “We won’t leave you by yourself and we’ll make sure management know that you won’t back down.”
Camden traffic wardens have the courage and resilience to win their pay rise from NSL bosses, and their union should do everything in its power to support them.
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