Parking attendants who work in the South Tyneside area are fighting back over allegations that they are too quick to issue tickets to motorists. The council are currently planning a shake-up of the borough’s car parking system.
The council are all set to part company with the current parking enforcement provider (Apcoa) after a large number of claims about their poor performance. This means that there is uncertainty for the twelve civil enforcement officers who are employed by the company. The dozen workers have come under attack from both councillors and the public who have accused them of being unqualified, aggressive and over-zealous when handing out tickets. Drivers have to look around for a cheap motor car insurance quote in order to save money and are not impressed when their savings can disappear at the hands of an overzealous parking attendant. However, a union boss has launched a defence of the group saying they are an asset to the borough. The worried staff have asked Unison to fight their corner in a bid to keep their jobs.
Tina Roche, assistant branch secretary of Unison South Tyneside, said “They are not just parking enforcers; they also help the general public, particularly in the summer during events like the Great North Run. They give directions and offer advice to tourists on where to drink and eat. It’s not all about handing out tickets. They were surprised and angered by the criticisms made against them because they believe that the organisation has been running well, particularly over the last 18 months. They think they are doing a good job and are confident in their own skills, and feel they are just being attacked for going about their work.”
The enforcement officers claim that they regularly come up against aggressive behaviour from motorists and are trained not to react after undergoing conflict management training courses. They are all nervous about their futures but are also hopeful that they will keep their jobs even if a new company is given the contract. Unison is seeking negotiations with the council regarding the proposed changes.