By Ben Windsor
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Wandsworth traffic wardens to strike during Wimbledon

Workers in south London are escalating their battle against their employer NSL, while more in Wiltshire are set to strike for a week
Issue 2811
A large picket line of traffic wardens carrying GMB union flags

Traffic wardens are game, and set to match bosses’ refusal to budge with escalation

Outsourced traffic wardens in Wandsworth, south London, are striking again this week, after taking three days of strikes last week. The members of the GMB union have decided to escalate and will be striking for five days during the nearby Wimbledon tennis championships.

This is typically one of the most profitable weeks of the year for their employer, NSL. The traffic wardens intend to organise a protest outside the championships to raise the profile of their dispute.

One warden described to Socialist Worker the conditions traffic wardens work in. “We’re too exhausted to do anything after work” they said. “We regularly walk 16 miles a day, in all weathers.”

A common complaint is a complete disrespect from the boss. One warden said, “He didn’t even thank us for working through the pandemic.”

The traffic wardens spoke about how wealthy people park wherever they please and don’t care about the £55 fines. The GMB regional organiser calculated that during the tennis, parking fines alone would bring in a minimum of £22,700 a day—and parking bay suspensions would bring in another £18,000.

The strike is staying strong, with 97 percent of the workforce out. Working conditions are so bad even managers have joined the action. Only escalation will win traffic wardens the better pay and conditions they deserve.

Traffic wardens in Wiltshire will strike for seven extra days this week after striking for two days in May. Workers were hit by council bosses with a 10 percent pay cut, which would mean their pay would shrink by £2,000 a year.

Wiltshire council is currently refusing to meet for talks and has also refused to take fire and rehire off the table. More days of strikes by traffic wardens have the power to hit the council hard as parking fines can make the council upwards of £30,000 a day.

The members of the GMB union were set to head to pickets on Thursday and strike until next Wednesday.

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