Hackney traffic wardens strike 10 July, photo London Socialist Party

Hackney traffic wardens strike 10 July, photo London Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Unite the Union member

Unite the Union members employed as parking enforcement officers by APCOA Parking in Hackney, east London, began six days of strike action on 9 July.

The company is a council contractor which wastes no time in trying to make profits off the back of the workers. The union has previously had to organise strike action to win a pay increase up to the London Living Wage rate, despite the council promising that all contractors would pay the rate.

Strike action also won improved sick pay, which is vital taking into account that the workers are out in all weathers and are frequently assaulted. Workers have given examples where they had knives held to their throats. One worker on the picket line spoke about how even going to get a coffee during a break is stressful when in uniform.

Now the workers have been forced to take strike action after the employer refused to negotiate a pay rise. This is despite turning up to conciliation service Acas, confirming that they had the authority to negotiate on pay and asking if the union would suspend the action if the employer made a pay offer.

The talks concluded with APCOA saying that they needed to consult with the council. Rather suspiciously, it was after this point that APCOA then refused to negotiate further.

This is not a company short of money – a fact that the company has no problem sharing. Pinned up on the staff noticeboard is a newsletter from the CEO proudly boasting of the €68.1 million that the company made last year.

The company is trying every trick in the book to undermine the strike – including increased rates for strike breakers and paying for lunches!