Industrial Action by SERCO Parking Attendants Looms

Civil enforcement officers in Hounslow and Ealing vote to strike

Motorists in the boroughs might avoid parking fines over two weeks

January 12, 2023

Civil enforcement officers, including parking attendants and CCTV operators employed by Serco in Hounslow and Ealing have voted for industrial action.

Unite the Union says there was 100% support for strikes that will take place between 18 January and 31 January and will provide the opportunity for free parking in the boroughs.

The union claims that its members working on the contract for the two boroughs have been offered and ‘offensive’ 20p an hour with no rise at all for staff on the real living wage. It is hoping that the prospect of free parking and the consequent loss of revenue for the two boroughs will force Serco to consider a higher offer.

The current pay offer amounts to a 1.7 per cent pay increase for workers in Ealing who earn just £11.35 an hour. Workers on the Hounslow contract currently earn just £11.05 an hour. They have been offered nothing above the rate for the real living wage.

Ealing Council has decided to bring parking enforcement in-house and it is believed that one of the reasons is disruption caused during an earlier round of strikes.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said, “It’s an absolute disgrace that a hugely profitable business like Serco has put this offensive offer to this workforce.

“Little wonder then that these essential council workers across West London have begun the New Year with a 100 per cent vote for strike action.

“The civil enforcement officers and CCTV operators are joining forces to fight back against Serco, an outsourcer with a track record of paying workers poorly.

“Serco has to give itself a shake and get back to the table, ready to make these workers a reasonable and fair pay offer.

“If not, the workers’ unanimous strike vote will be matched by Unite’s total support.”

Unite acting national officer Clare Keogh said, “Serco and the London boroughs still have time to prevent a strike and the resulting loss of income. If the strike goes ahead it will mean free parking while workers fight for fair pay. The truth is that the council workers face real hardship when inflation is around eight times higher than their pay offer. For workers on the living wage, it’s hardly enough to live on.”

Kieron Clarke, Serco’s Head of Parking Services, said, “It is always our intention to work in partnership with the trade unions. We fully appreciate the impact of the current cost of living challenges are having on our people and we are fully engaged in discussions in an attempt avert any strike action.”

An Ealing Council spokesperson said, “We are aware of the dispute between Unite and SERCO. Ensuring workers who deliver public services are treated fairly remains very important to the council, especially during the current cost of living crisis. We hope that this dispute will be resolved swiftly.

"Ealing is committed to improving our parking enforcement. Earlier this year we committed to bring the service back under the direct control of the council, and work continues to make this happen.”

Hounslow Council declined to comment.

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