Unions Says Summer Parking 'Free For All' Ahead in Ealing

Extended strike action planned in June and July

Serco employees protesting outside Ealing Town Hall last year
Serco employees protesting outside Ealing Town Hall last year. Picture: Helen Pattison

Another round of strike action by civil enforcement officers working for Serco in Ealing borough is starting this Wednesday (23 June) and their union says this could be the start of a ‘summer free for all’ for parking.

After the initial 72-hour strike, there will be a further two weeks of continuous strike action from the end of the month. This will mean there will be no parking enforcement in Ealing between 23 June and 25 June and 30 June and 14 July.

Since 5 May, more than 40 civil enforcement officers have taken intermittent strike action over Serco’s offer of severance which they claim has deliberately targeted Unite representatives and activists.

The union says that Serco is also refusing to negotiate a new absence management policy for employees working on the Ealing contract. Unite believes the present policy is being used to unfairly dismiss employees and should be renegotiated.

Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said, “These strikes will result in a parking free for all across Ealing and are entirely Serco’s fault.

“Not only will the strikes impact Ealing, but they could also cause disruption in neighbouring Brent, as Serco’s base for both boroughs operates out of the same location.

“It is inevitable that Serco will try to lessen the impact of the strikes in Ealing with personnel from the Brent contract, which is already facing extra pressure due to the number of Euros games being held at Wembley.

“The last thing our members want to do is strike, but what choice do they have when Serco has treated them so badly and is refusing to act on their concerns?”

There are talks planned about the dispute at the conciliation service ACAS on 30 June.

Unite has called on Serco to come to the table with an ‘acceptable solution’ and asked Ealing council’s new leader Peter Mason to intervene in this dispute as he said he would do when he started in the role.

The union says, “Ealing council did the right thing by reversing its decision to ask Serco to remove a Unite rep from his job for supposedly bringing the council into ‘disrepute’ – an accusation that was proved to be completely baseless.

“Ealing council must now follow this up by insisting Serco take meaningful steps to end the hostilities and reset industrial relations.

“If Serco refuse to listen, then the council should bring the contract back in-house, as stipulated under Labour Party policy.”

Councillor Peter Mason, leader of Ealing Council said, “Ensuring workers are treated fairly remains a commitment for the council. We hope this can be resolved amicably via ACAS and are monitoring closely while working to secure a resolution on this issue as a matter of priority.

“I look forward to meeting civil enforcement officers soon to understand more the impact of COVID, lockdown and industrial action has had on them.”

Serco have been asked to comment.

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June 23, 2021