Uniting workers and communities in the London Borough of Camden
The long-running dispute involving some 160 Camden UNISON members fighting for a substantial increase on their hourly rate of £8.09 on the Council’s NSL parking enforcement contract is now the subject of an Early Day Motion (number 604), tabled on 18 October by Labour MP John McDonnell. The West London MP joined striking NSL workers outside Camden Town Hall at the start of their three-day strike on 9 August and honoured his pledge to use his Parliamentary position to raise the profile of their fight. Surprisingly, perhaps, McDonnell has been joined as a sponsor of the motion by the Conservative MP for Worthing West, Peter Bottomley. His support just might reflect the experience of workers and residents in Mr Bottomley’s Sussex constituency, where NSL also has the parking enforcement contract.
Camden UNISON Branch Secretary George Binette welcomed the motion describing it “as a tribute to the courage and determination of our members on the NSL contract over the course of the past three months and more. Their struggle has helped to highlight the continuing scandal of low pay in London and across the British economy as a whole, and once more raised serious questions about the privatisation of public services. An Early Day Motion is very much appreciated, but in itself changes nothing, but as shown in their recent workplace the workers themselves remain willing to battle for decent pay and dignity in the workplace.”
Camden UNISON urges its members to contact their local constituency MP and strongly encourage her/him to lend their support by signing this motion. The full text of the motion is on the Parliament website: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/604
Camden UNISON Branch Secretary
Text of Early Day Motion 604 (NSL Camden Parking Dispute), tabled on Thursday 18 October 2012.
Principal Sponsor: John McDonnell, Labour MP, Hayes & Harlington
Second Sponsor: Peter Bottomley, Conservative MP, Worthing West
That this House notes that the parking enforcement contractor NSL is engaged in an industrial dispute with 160 employees belonging to UNISON on its London Borough of Camden contract, who are taking industrial action to improve average pay, which for most stands at only 8.09 an hour; further understands that NSL has become the largest UK contractor for on-street parking enforcement, having won numerous outsourced contracts from local authorities; notes that at the same time NSL has developed a reputation as a virulently anti-union employer, being now involved in its third significant industrial dispute in three years; further notes that the employer has repeatedly claimed it is not in a position to significantly improve its pay offer to the Camden workforce despite its acquisition of contracts in several London authorities since 2009 where the majority of staff are on a significantly higher rate of pay; congratulates the London Borough of Camden for adopting a commitment to the London Living Wage, but recognises that the situation facing workers on the Camden NSL typifies the circumstances of all too many low-paid, often migrant workers on outsourced contracts for ancillary services across Britain; and calls on NSL to enter into serious negotiations with UNISON and table an improved pay offer, failing which it calls on Camden Council to review its contract with NSL with a view to cancelling the contract if the company does not improve its offer and continues to undermine the income the council receives from parking enforcement in the borough.