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20 December 2013, 08:40 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50
There'll be talks later between Portsmouth City Council and traffic wardens to try and avoid a day of industrial action on Monday.
Christmas shoppers in Portsmouth could enjoy ‘free’ parking’ when the city’s traffic wardens take industrial action, including banning overtime and using paper, not electronic, notebooks, from next Monday (23 December).
Talks with management at Portsmouth city council are due to take place on Friday (20 December).
The continuous action, due to start at 00.01 on Monday, will see the traffic wardens, known as civil enforcement officers (CEOs), not enforcing all externally contracted off street pay and display car parks.
The CEOs will not use electronic handheld equipment, but revert back to paper notebooks and issuing penalty charge notices (PCNs). There will be a ban on overtime, and they won’t remove, lower or raise bollards and barriers.
The traffic wardens have voted by an 80 per cent margin to take action on a number of issues, including the arbitrary imposition of ‘performance indicators’ to increase the number of PCNs they issue.
Unite, the country’s largest union representing the CEOs, called for the authority to enter into constructive talks to reach a fair settlement. The dispute also centres on the current job evaluation procedure and unsuitable changing facilities.
Unite regional officer Ian Woodland said: "As services provided by the council have reduced because of the government’s swingeing local government financial cutbacks, our members in parking enforcement have taken on a number of additional duties.
“All they ask is they are fairly compensated for this. Currently, the council’s job evaluation process has failed to give our members confidence that these additional duties are being properly and fairly considered.
“The industrial action raises the very possibility that motorists doing some last minute Christmas shopping will get away with parking where they shouldn’t or for longer than they should.
“Drivers may be pleased, but it will hit the council where it hurts - in the pocket.”
Unite city council’s convenor Richard White said: "CEOs work in all weathers and, currently, they have inadequate facilities to dry wet weather gear or change in private. This issue has been raised on numerous occasions without any action by the city council.
“Our members are also being given larger areas to cover with the expansion of resident parking zones and with an increasing pressure to meet ‘performance indicators’ that have almost doubled in three years.
“Our members are being placed under significant increased strain – and that’s why they have decided reluctantly to take industrial action."