Motorists delighted by strike as traffic wardens stage walk-out

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The Independent Online

Britain's biggest union embarked on a highly popular piece of industrial action yesterday. The "customers" of the workers concerned were especially delighted by the withdrawal of labour.

Britain's biggest union embarked on a highly popular piece of industrial action yesterday. The "customers" of the workers concerned were especially delighted by the withdrawal of labour.

Traffic wardens belonging to the public service union Unison in seven London boroughs walked out for a week in support of a demand for an increase in London weighting to £4,000 a year.

Although non-union members turned up for duty and continued to issue tickets with the help of managers, thousands of motorists took advantage of the stoppage to park where they wanted.

A spokeswoman for the Association of London Government warned that despite the walkout, parking regulations were still in force and that there was "every possibility" that motorists parking illegally would be caught. Where wardens were in scarce supply, illegal parkers should be aware that they could be caught on CCTV.

The spokeswoman said local authorities could not afford the increase in London weighting demanded by wardens, and other local government workers in the capital, especially as they had received an increase of between 7.7 per cent and 11 per cent two weeks ago. The increase demanded by the union for council workers would add an average £90 a year to each household's council tax bill, the association says.

Geoff Martin, the London convenor of Unison, said his members had been priced out of the housing market.

Another popular strike is on the horizon in support of an increase in the present London weighting payment, which ranges from £1,700 to £2,400. Next week, after traffic wardens resume normal duties, a strike will be staged by finance workers who are responsible for collecting council tax.

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