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Hackney parking patrol to stage five-day strike

Deniz Huseyin
08 October 2015
 

Civil enforcement officers in Hackney are set to start a five-day strike on Monday 12 October over sick pay. The 30 CEOs, members of the Unite union, have also rejected a 1.5% pay offer for this year. The staff voted unanimously to take industrial action against their employer APCOA Parking, which runs the service for Hackney council. 

In a letter to councillors, Unite regional officer Onay Kasab wrote: “Presently, the company pays statutory sick pay (SSP) only, which is set at £88.45 per week. The scheme only applies after three consecutive days of sickness – so the first three days are not paid.”

Unite said that APCOA does not pay the London ‘living wage’ (LLW) of £9.15 an hour to the mainly black Asian ethnic minority (BAEM) workforce as it is wrongly including a non-guaranteed bonus in the calculation. Only 60% of workers, on average, hit the bonus target, said Unite. 

Unite has warned that the council will lose revenue from parking tickets not being issued and said that the chances of car users in the borough getting booked for a parking offence will be much reduced. Hackney’s CEOs have worse pay, and terms and conditions than council staff, according to Unite. Onay Kasab said that a meeting with APCOA on 5 October, the firm made a “take it-or-leave it offer” and said it was “not prepared to negotiate”.

“The offer is for one week of sick pay over a rolling year, not applicable for the first three days of sickness. In other words, to get one day of sick pay, you must have been sick for four consecutive days first of all. 

“The average number of sick days at the company, based on company figures is three days per year. The offer is woefully inadequate.”

On the LLW, Kasab added: “As non-guaranteed payments are not supposed to be included in the calculation, the council is engaging a contractor, which despite assurances, is not paying the London ‘living wage’.

“I have previously highlighted how contractors in schools (in the borough) are not paying the LLW. This is impacting on a mainly female, BAEM workforce. The majority of those impacted at APCOA are also BAEM.”

Hackney’s CEOs previously staged two days of strike action in August, following a 100% vote for strike action. A Hackney Council spokesperson said: “The council is committed to paying the London Living Wage both to its own staff and the staff of its contractors. We are currently in discussions with APCOA in honouring this through its contract.
 
“We have been working with APCOA and we have put in contingency plans to ensure that the service is effectively covered.”

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