Staff Car Park

13 MAY 2015

Appeals Panel rejects UNISON’s case

The Appeals Panel rejected UNISON’s case and the council now intend to implement their proposals in full from 1st June, this was the last stage of the Council’s disputes process.

UNISON has ensured that no back dating of payment to 1April will be applied.

UNISON’s case papers were shared with you in our previous email but the appeals panel were unwilling to accept any of our (and your) arguments, despite the evidence of staff car park users presented to them. They rejected the notion that staff use their vehicle for council business and the management representative reiterated the management case that pool vehicles should be used;  even though it is UNISON’s case that the council cannot currently provide an alternative solution (for all) than staff using their own vehicles.

The management’s view is that staff users of the Civic Centre car park are to be treated as “commuters” (management’s phrase) i.e. staff just travel to work and park up, complete their day’s work, then travel home; and on that basis the council can charge you as any commercial operator of car parks would; all be it the council make the case that the charge to park at the Civic is less than commercial operators charge in the city. And therefore the panel rejected UNISON’s position that the increase was unnecessary and an attack on staff.

UNISON’s fundamentally disagrees with that position and would suggest that staff who do use their vehicle for council business, review that practice!

UNISON will continue to discuss the issue of car use with Directors across the council and we will report back progress to you.

The outcome letter relating to the collective dispute lodged by UNISON makes reference to staff using their cars for business purposes and that directorates would need to discuss this with the council’s travel office, “However the panel did feel further discussions between service areas and the travel office would be beneficial to ensure effective operational service delivery”, UNISON will ensure that those discussions will take place.

4 MAY 2015

Disputes Panel - the Final Stage

The final stage of UNISON’s collective dispute will be heard on Tuesday, 5th May 2.30 – 4.30pm. The disputes panel will be chaired by Cllr Cook and the management representative will be Mick Murphy Director of Communities and Pam Perry will be the HR representative. Colin Burr GMB Branch Secretary will represent the Staff Side as the formal Staff Side Secretary is the UNISON Branch Secretary who will be presenting the case on behalf of UNISON.

UNISON has submitted papers in advance which have been shared with UNISON members, but there will also be a verbal presentation supporting the written one.

UNISON will present written evidence from car park users who’ve sent information into the Branch, but we would request that if anyone is prepared to give evidence in person, which would only strengthen UNISON’s case, could you please let the Branch know asap.

For those members who currently have a blue badge, I am pleased to say that one UNISON member has had their request for a parking space as a reasonable adjustment agreed by the council. As any reasonable adjustment cannot be charged for, this means that member of staff will not have to pay for a parking pass. UNISON urges all blue badge holders to request a parking space as a reasonable adjustment, the request should be sent to your line manager

12 MARCH 2015

UNISON Submits a Collective Dispute

Following the council’s decision to vote through the budget proposals for 2015/16 un-amended which includes the proposals around the staff car park, UNISON has submitted a collective dispute to the Assistant Director of HR. The council has acknowledged our dispute and a hearing will be calendared soon.

In the meantime, thanks to those who have written to their Director as I requested in my last email, highlighting both the personal and professional impact the council’s proposals will have on them, it is essential that you all do this in order to make all the Directors acutely aware of the issues. Your senior managers have all approved this decision in addition to the elected members, but UNISON is convinced that those managers do not have a clear understanding of car use within their services; you need to educate about this.

All individual UNISON members who contact their director will receive a response email that confirms receipt of your correspondence but places your issue on hold pending the outcome of the collective grievance. The resolution of the collective grievance may (or may not), resolve the individual issue.

Please encourage any colleague who is not a UNISON member or not a union member at all, to also contact their Director.

In addition to the submission of a collective dispute the Branch Secretary has also raised the issue again with the Chief Executive.

4 MARCH 2015

The Campaign Goes On

Following last night’s meeting, it was made clear by the Branch that the campaign against the council’s proposals goes on despite the council voting on their budget proposals this evening, and that we will have to ratchet up the protest. This is in line with the tag line for the Branch protest tonight outside the Civic Centre - “if the council aren’t listening then we have to shout louder”.

A discussion took place which emphasised the need for car park users to ensure the issues were made clear to Directors and line managers. To that end the following actions were agreed:

UNISON is requesting that ALL UNISON members with a staff car park pass email their Director , copying in their line manager(s) and UNISON, stating the following:

  1. How the use of your own vehicle helps maintain, or is essential, to existing service delivery (where this is applicable), and how not using that vehicle would impact negatively on those services. There is still denial from council officers that staff using their own vehicles contributes to effective service delivery and that not using your own vehicle would have any negative impact on that service.
  2. If you are aware of colleagues doing similar, or the same work at different locations, who will not be subject to the same charge; raise that issue too.  
  3. Where you don’t use your vehicle for council business, or in addition to points 1 & 2 if you do; explain how the proposed increase in charge will impact on your finances.
  4. If you are a blue badge holder, raise your concerns in addition to 1-3 above.
  5. Email your councillor (if you live in Newcastle), and share the above information.
  6. Contact your MP (we are aware that a couple of members with blue badges have approached heir MP who is intending to raise the matter with the council).

UNISON will do the following:

  1. Explore the potential of submitting a formal collective dispute on the council’s proposals.
  2. Make arrangements to ballot members affected by the proposals on taking action.
  3. Make further representation to council officers and elected members.

If any of your colleagues are not UNISON members, but have a staff car park, please urge them to follow your lead and send out the emails.

 3 MARCH 2015

Meeting of Civic Centre Staff Car Park Pass Holders

Date: 3 March 2015

Time: 16.00 - 17.30

Venue: Council Chanber, Civic Centre

To discuss issues arising from the Council’s proposals.

27 FEBRUARY 2015

Branch Secretary sets out the UNISON position

Staff that currently have a pass for the staff car park at the Civic Centre will have received an email from Craig Mordue (Head of Parking), which outlines the Council’s view that consultation on the 2 proposals has ended and that subject to the Elected members voting the proposals through at the Council budget setting meeting on 4th March, the Council will implement their proposals from 1st April.

UNISON has not accepted that consultation has ended, nor has UNISON given up the campaign to get the Council to withdraw their proposals in their entirety.

UNISON is the only voice in opposition to the council’s proposals, we are the only ones raising our concerns on behalf of members, the Council isn’t listening!

The Branch has arranged 2 meetings with members to keep them informed of developments and to ask for suggestions to assist and strengthen our negotiating position. The Branch has arranged:

NONE of these individuals support the UNISON position which is:

  1. UNISON rejects the notion that the Councils proposal is a reduction in subsidy, it is actually an increase in the personal charge.
    1. A subtle distinction but important as it is clear that the council wants to portray it’s proposals as “reducing a perk” and driving a wedge between anyone not having a staff car park pass and those that do, we believe this is disingenuous and deliberate.
    2. UNISON demands that the Council withdraw its proposals to increase the charge for staff car parking passes at the Civic Centre.
    3. UNISON demands that the Council withdraws its proposal to introduce charging for staff that have a blue badge for parking in the staff car park at the Civic Centre
    4. UNISON is concerned at the proposals to introduce charging for blue badge holders across the Council owned multi storey car parks, from a citizenship perspective.

UNISON has made no distinction between different groups of members affected by the proposals, not by grade, not by disability; we have represented our objections to the Council as a collective issue, we reject all the Council proposals.

In addition to the meetings listed above the Branch has written to all elected members seeking their support. Only 1 councillor has contacted the Branch, Cllr Mark Donnelly (independent) and offer his support to our position, not one other councillor has even acknowledged our correspondence.

Of the decision makers involved in taking the Council’s proposals forward, what has become clear is:

The Branch has also set up an on-line petition at to generate publicity across the city in support of the campaign to reject the Council’s proposals. The Branch disabled members officer has been interviewed on TV and radio about the whole campaign, although the TV interviews were edited to focus on disability related issues only (the Branch has no control on the editorial policy of the media) .

Where next?

UNISON is arranging a further meeting on Tuesday next week at 4.00 pm (venue to be confirmed). At that meeting the following will be discussed:

The Council are unwilling to listen to reason, the Council is unwilling to accept the argument that some staff are being treated unfairly, are you willing to allow them to ignore you? Come to the meeting, let’s agree a plan of action. If you can’t make the meeting I would be more than happy to receive your suggestions for continuing the campaign. Come to the Branch protest organised next Wednesday evening to protest about all the Council budget cut proposals.


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