UNISON Lobby Against ‘Poll Tax’ Parking Charges

Around 50 UNISON members lobbied the Highways Cabinet Meeting that was set to make a decision on the introduction of car parking charges of £4 a day or £240 a year on Sandwell Council House staff car park on West Bromwich Street.

UNISON welcomes the lowering of annual parking tickets for elsewhere in the Borough but almost 800 staff had signed a petition asking for them not to apply to the staff car park on West Bromwich Street. In addition 391 additional objections were made.

At the Cabinet Meeting UNISON representatives made points around the low paid and part time workers plus staff who need to provide a car to undertake their work duties (who have already suffered lower mileage rates and lost any car allowance).

The Chair of the Highways Cabinet approved the report with just one amendment. That being that part time staff will be able to purchase annual restricted 3 days a week parking passes for £144.

Disappointingly, no such concession was made available to staff on low pay, so the accusation that the parking charges are a ‘Poll Tax’ still stands. Despite Council Officers arguing it is fair to charge everyone the same there is no equality or fairness in charging a Cleaner the same as a Director.

Furthermore, the staff who need to use their own car for work were told to use pool cars instead. So perhaps that is what everyone should do?
If everyone demanded to use a pool car instead of their own car how many visits to vulnerable children and other public meetings would not take place?
If you think UNISON should organise ‘Pool Car fortnights’ then let your local representative know.

Importantly the report confirmed that those using salary sacrifice to pay for the parking passes will not see their pensions adversely affected.

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