Camden traffic wardens to strike a second time in pay dispute

Some 160 Camden UNISON members, employed by parking enforcement contractor NSL, will mount their second strike in a month from Thursday 9 – Saturday 11 August. The three-day walkout amid the closing stages of the 2012 Olympics follows a strongly supported two-day strike on 11 and 12 July.  The action comes after members, currently paid just £8.09 an hour and working a basic 42.5 hour week, unanimously rejected NSL’s latest offer.  

Camden UNISON branch secretary George Binette said, “The company has actually tabled a worse offer than before the July strike. While it would take basic pay to the current London Living Wage of £8.30 an hour that figure has not been uprated since May last year. In real terms NSL is proposing still another pay cut for those workers who generate profits for NSL and substantial revenues for Camden Council.”

Binette added, “Our members are frustrated but also determined to fight for a long overdue, substantial pay rise.”

Picket lines  are expected each day outside all six NSL workplaces in the north London borough with a rally planned outside Camden Town Hall  (Judd Street and Euston Road, WC1H 9JE)  for Thursday 9 August  at 12.30 PM (Facebook event here). Barring significant concessions  by NSL, UNISON will be looking to mount further action including a work-to-rule and a longer strike in the second half of August.

-ENDS-

NOTES TO EDITORS FOLLOW:

1.      Camden UNISON is the largest recognised trade union in Camden Council with some 3,400 members among local authority employees, on outsourced council contracts and in the voluntary sector. In 2011 it became the first UNISON branch to gain recognition from NSL for purposes of collective bargaining on the grounds that well above 50% of the workforce was in membership.

2.      NSL, formerly part of NCP, was split off from the rest of that company in 2008 and is currently controlled by a private equity firm. It is now the largest player in parking enforcement, both in Britain and across London, with 12 local authority contracts in the capital alone. It reported an operating profit of £9.98m for calendar year 2011.

3.      Camden Council originally privatised parking enforcement at the start of the last decade on the basis of two contracts. In 2009 Camden Council, then under the control of a Liberal Democrat-Conservative administration, awarded the contract to NSL, worth an estimated £44.6m over six years.

4.      The London Living Wage (LLW) is calculated on behalf of the Greater London Authority and Mayor of London’s office. It was last set in spring 2011 at £8.30 an hour – more than £2.20 above the present level of the National Minimum Wage. Camden Council  now pays LLW as a minimum for all direct Council employees and taken steps to introduce LLW on future outsourced contracts. This will not, however, be done on a retrospective basis with existing contracts and to date the Council has refused to intervene in this increasingly bitter dispute despite a lobby of and deputation to the 18 July meeting of the Council’s Cabinet.

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