Uniting workers and communities in the London Borough of Camden
Photo by Amanda Bentham
Dozens of Camden UNISON members on the NSL parking enforcement contract rounded off their third consecutive day of strike action with a march along the pavement between Holborn tube and Euston mainline stations on Saturday afternoon (11 August). Fifty strikers and supporters, chanting ‘Low Pay, No Way’ and ‘NSL: No Slave Labour’, carried placards and UNISON flags along the route that ran parallel to the Olympic lane that has operated from the Kingsway through Upper Woburn Place during the course of the Games.
Most of the marchers had already carried out picket duty outside their respective bases during the course of the morning. All told they also distributed more than 2,000 leaflets to motorists and pedestrians explaining the background to what has become an increasingly bitter dispute with the borough’s parking contractor. The second round of strike action came after the company responded to a strongly supported walkout on 11 and 12 July with what was effectively a worse pay offer. Prior to the first strike NSL management had tabled a proposed three-year deal involving rises on the basic hourly rate of 4%, 3% and 3%. To many of us in local government such an offer might well appear attractive midst the third year of an absolute pay freeze, but then 10% of £8.09 is only 81 pence. After that strike a further negotiating meeting took place on 25 July. There UNISON stewards moderated their original demands, which would have simply resulted in parity with their co-workers on the Waltham Forest contract, also operated by NSL.
Five days later the company came back with a proposal of a 2.6% rise this year, as opposed to the previous 4% and a pledge for future pay increases to rise in step with the London Living Wage, pegged since May of last year at £8.30 an hour. The response of the workforce to the offer, which the branch made sure was swiftly circulated to members, was a unanimous ‘NO’ with 121 members voting in a paper ballot over the space of less than 48 hours between 30 July and 1 August. this is from http://camdenunison.org.uk/