Charley Morgan, Swindon Advertiser
CAR parking attendants are planning to go on strike on the first day of late-night Christmas shopping tomorrow.
The industrial action is the latest development in an ongoing dispute between Swindon Council and Unison members over pay.
Staff from the car parking, country parks and leisure departments have been on strike at the weekends since September 25, leading to disruption, particularly in the town’s leisure centres.
They decided to take action after the council withdrew extra pay for working unsociable hours, such as nights and weekends.
The latest action is designed to hit the cash-strapped council hard in the pocket by potentially reducing the amount of income it will get from people paying to park while they do their Christmas shopping.
Unison branch secretary Bob Cretchley said: “We have given notice that our members in car parking will be going on strike on Thursday afternoon and evening, which is the start of the Christmas late-night shopping.
“We are not looking to escalate this dispute, we want it resolved and we are hoping the council will start coming forward with some proposals and start taking this seriously.”
He said some Unison members were losing up to £300 a month following the council’s decision and one in particular was facing having their house repossessed as a result.
Mr Cretchley said members would still be going on strike at the weekends too and the union was also in the process of balloting members in the libraries and museums department to see if they would also go on strike in support of their fellow union members.
He added: “We would all rather be sitting down and talking but resolve is very strong.
We’ve been going for seven weeks now and if anything resolve is even stronger than at the start and there is no indication of people drifting back to work.”
The union had received more than £4,000 in donations to a hardship fund to help those on strike.
A spokesman for the council said they would be bringing in temporary staff to cover for those who are planning to go on strike on Thursday and did not expect there to be any disruption.