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York traffic wardens to strike
TRAFFIC wardens in York will go on strike for seven days from Monday in a row over shift changes.
UNISON claims a decision by City of York Council to switch members in its environmental enforcement and parking services section from a four-day to a five-day week to cut costs will place "even more strain" on employees.
The union said the move would lead to sickness and stress levels rising and "damage" the service, and it did not believe the changes would save money.
UNISON regional organiser Melanie Onn said: "The strike will cause major disruption to traffic management in York, but we have tried to negotiate with the council and they are flatly refusing to consider any of our alternative proposals.
"Our members have been left with no alternative but to take industrial action. These staff are often the targets of abuse and sometimes violence from some members of the public, but the job is vital to the day-to-day running of the city.
"It is change for the sake of change and will pile even more pressure on our members."
The shift changes will not alter the number of hours traffic wardens work in the space of a week, which will stay at 37. The council has said parking areas will continue to be monitored during the dispute and the city's car parks will operate as normal.
Its parking hotline, which can be contacted on 0800 138 1119, will also be in operation for residents to report parking issues while the industrial action is taking place. York has 18 traffic wardens, three of whom are not UNISON members, and the council said it would not have to draft in temporary staff from elsewhere.
Sally Burns, the authority's director of communities and neighbourhoods, said: "We have made the decision to move York's civil enforcement team to a five-day week,to enable the council to run an effective and full service across the city, despite undertaking a necessary reduction in resource.
"This decision has not been taken lightly and takes into consideration best practice models elsewhere. We have been in discussion for some time with UNISON to minimise disruption for staff ahead of the changes taking place and will continue to work with them throughout this process. However, we cannot get the city-wide coverage we need for the service we have, without moving to five days a week.”
She also said the council was "extremely disappointed" the strike was taking place and hoped to "resolve this matter as swiftly as possible".