Today marks the fifth day of a week-long protest by York’s Civil Enforcement Officers (traffic wardens to you and me) in opposition to council plans to implement five-day weeks and longer hours for these caretakers of York’s streets and car parks.
Concerned that this plan to increase the working week will put “even more strain” and stress on these frontline service providers in our city, Unison have been picketing this week outside Foss Bank and Castle Picadilly car parks.
Whilst the council claim that the changes are necessary to meet budgets cuts, saving them £77,000 over two years, Unison are adamant that the plans will actually lose the council money due to having to pay an extra day’s wage. They have claimed a policy of ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it’ by stating that the most recently published targets for 2010/11 prove that targets for all areas of the service have been exceeded suggesting no need for such changes this year.
Now, Unison are claiming that the strike has caused mass “chaos and lost revenue” with reports of illegal parking taking place. Melanie Onn, regional organiser for Unison, said: “We are now being told complaints are coming in to the council from residents who, because parking rules are not being enforced, are being forced out by illegal parkers who are not being monitored and penalised by traffic wardens.”
Yet, the council have denied that any such disruption has taken place, claiming calls to its parking hotline (0800 138 1119) where people can report illegal parking had actually seen “fewer calls than usual”. She said that all York car parks were still operating as normal, with police ‘”minimising” obstructions and double yellow line parking.