Unions representing Nottingham City Council workers have described the increased parking fees for staff as ‘opportunistic cash grabbing’.
GMB and Unite the Union have criticized the council’s decision to raise the workplace parking charge (WPC) by 7.1%.
The City Council says this in line with the “annual inflationary rise” in the Workplace Parking Levy (WPL), a charge Nottingham businesses pay for parking spaces in the city. For 2022/23 the WPL is £458 per space, down from £428 with the inflationary increase.
However, unions representing workers across the authority said the move, which was due to come into effect on April 1, was “absolutely unjust”.
A spokesperson for GMB, one of the largest unions for council workers across all sectors, said the announcement was particularly premature given the rising cost of living.
“Nottingham and the whole country are facing a cost of living crisis, and all employers should do everything possible to protect employees from the impact of this,” they told Nottinghamshire Live.
“Local government workers have already faced a real pay cut this year and many council workers will face skyrocketing energy and fuel costs.
“The parking price hikes for loyal staff, many of whom have seen Nottingham through the pandemic, are downright unfair.”
Unite, fellow regional and policy officer Cheryl Pidgeon, said: “Many council workers are already struggling as the cost of living soars and wages stagnate and rising parking charges will make matters worse.
This is an opportunistic grab of council money from its own workers and it must be reversed.
The WPC is a parking management program that charges staff and visitors for parking on its premises and varies according to the individual’s salary.
It was introduced in 2011 as part of a campaign to encourage council staff to use public transport and active modes of travel, rather than driving to work.
Nottingham City Council said there would be no impact on local businesses as the WPC only applies to the council.
Rather, it will affect council workers who have chosen to drive and park at its sites. The current workforce (until December 2021) of the WPC is 67 people in the city center system and 804 in the neighborhood system.
Councilor Rosemary Healy, holder of the transport portfolio at Nottingham City Council, said: ‘As a major employer in the city on a number of sites, it is right that we pay our share of the parking charge on the workplace (WPL). Employers with more than 10 spaces in their car parks choose whether to pay the WPL bill themselves, pass it on to employees in full or, like the Council, ask staff to contribute.
“The workplace parking charge has been in place for over a decade now and has been the subject of extensive consultation with unions throughout the process. Annual increases are in line with inflation, such as WPL’s overall charge, which is set by law by the government.
“For staff on the lowest salaries, this will now equate to around £3 more per month to park in the city center and just over £1.30 per month more in the districts.
“The WPL has been a hugely positive thing for Nottingham and helped make our public transport system one of the best in the country outside of London. It is being paid for a major extension to the tram network, linking areas to the south and west of the city, as well as improvements to our bus network and the refurbishment of Nottingham station.
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