Westminster parking wardens start strike action set to cause coronation chaos

‘People are going to be able to park wherever they want’

Parking wardens in Westminster have started their first day of strikes this week which will go on to include the day of King Charles III’s coronation.

Their action this morning saw traffic wardens on all shifts come out on strike, according to GMB organiser Alex Etches, who claimed nothing had been put in place by the council to mediate the effects.  

Further planned strikes on Thursday and Saturday will also see 100% of traffic wardens vacate their posts in the borough, as Etches predicted traffic chaos during the coronation as people will be able to effectively ‘park wherever they want’.

“They’ve not put anything in place, they’ve basically abandoned their position,” Etches said of Westminster Council’s approach to the industrial action.

Commenting on the coronation day Etches told LFF, “it’s going to be interesting to say the least.

“Effectively, people are going to able to park wherever they want. I would imagine it’s going to lead to traffic chaos”.

Members of GMB union voted overwhelmingly to reject a below inflation pay offer last week from their employer NSL, a contractor of Westminster Council.

Wardens are asking for an above inflation pay rise which reflects the rate of inflation and rising cost of living.

Alex Etches referred to the workers as ‘engines of history’, who are rarely acknowledged for their crucial role behind historic events.

 “This is a great example of a simple truth in the world that is rarely acknowledged: that behind each great historical event are hundreds of ordinary workers working behind the scenes,” said Etches.

“Working people like our members might seem to do unimportant jobs, but they are the engines of history.

“This dispute is simply about working people being paid a decent wage for the physically demanding and very important job that they do.”

He added: “It’s a difficult job that’s done in all weathers where they face tremendous hostility from some members of the public and put themselves in very dangerous situations.

“They worked all the way through Covid and they’ve seen their pay eroded away and they don’t want to see another year of that.”

The King will make his way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 6 May as part of his coronation procession and ceremony.

Union members will also be taking action short of a strike from 1 to 8 May.

Westminster Council has been approached for comment.

Hannah Davenport is trade union reporter at Left Foot Forward

(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Left Foot Forward’s trade union reporting is supported by the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust

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