Unite hails victory as Hackney Council’s parking wardens come back ‘in- house’

PUBLISHED: 11:00 11 November 2020 | UPDATED: 19:43 12 November 2020

Hackney Unite parking wardens. Picture: Unite the union

Hackney Unite parking wardens. Picture: Unite the union

Unite the union

Unite the union has hailed Hackney Council’s decision to bring more than 130 parking wardens back “in-house” as “the way to go” for other London boroughs “still wedded to the outsourced, privatisation model”.

Hackney Town Hall entrance. Picture: Hackney CouncilHackney Town Hall entrance. Picture: Hackney Council

Unite the union has hailed Hackney Council’s decision to bring more than 130 parking wardens back in-house as “the way to go” for other London boroughs “still wedded to the outsourced, privatisation model”.

The council decided this week that the wardens, also known as civil enforcement officers (CEOs), employed by APCOA Parking UK should come back under the local authority when the contract ends in March 2022.

The mayor’s 2018 Labour Manifesto promised to review all outsourced services with a view to bringing them in-house, and the council said the move would “support the local economy and guarantee continued fair pay for its employees”.

Nearly three-quarters of the 34 contracts across the London boroughs, as well as Transport for London, are currently with private companies.

Following a decision by the council’s cabinet procurement committee, a consultation with staff and trade unions is set to begin in February next year.

The contract was first outsourced in 1999, and since 2004 has been provided by Airport Parking Corporation of America (APCOA), which is majority owned by US and UK-based private investment firms.

According to council documents, ditching the APCOA contract would result in “certain savings”, including no longer paying performance payments under the existing contract.

It would also tackle inequality by creating better job opportunities and improve staff morale, as well as leading to a “well run” and “high quality” service.

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Unite, which has mounted a long-standing campaign to bring the contract back under council control, claims the contract has been “dogged by industrial disputes over pay and personal safety issues”.

Unite’s regional officer Onay Kasab said: “This is tremendous news.

“Unite has campaigned, lobbied and taken strike action to win exactly the points now agreed by Hackney Council.

“It has been a tough campaign, but it has resulted in a great win that should send a clear message to other councils in London that the days of the flawed outsourcing business model are numbered.

“Hackney Council is now signposting the way forward. It is time for other authorities to do the same.

“Bringing these services back in-house is cheaper, better and fairer.”

The council’s transport chief, Cllr Jon Burke, said: “I’m delighted to be overseeing the insourcing of parking enforcement - which plays a crucial role in ensuring adequate parking for local residents and safeguarding our borough from excess traffic and pollution - as the next step in our journey to ensure greater public ownership and control of local government services.”

A spokesperson for APCOA said: “APCOA acknowledges the council’s decision not to proceed with a tender process for a new parking enforcement contract but to instead set up an in-house provision of these services.

“APCOA has always supported the council’s sustainable procurement policy and will work together to ensure a smooth transition to the in-house operation on March 31, 2022.

“Other parking services have already been insourced to the council in recent years and APCOA recognises this as the final stage in that process.”

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