Strange bedfellows: Tories and trade unionists unite against Norfolk County Council plans to charge staff to park

Jonathan Dunning, Norfolk county secretary for UNISON.

Jonathan Dunning, Norfolk county secretary for UNISON. - Credit: Supplied

Trade unionists and Conservatives have emerged as unlikely bedfellows in a battle to stop Norfolk County Council staff from being charged to park at work.

The plans to abolish free parking for council workers would see a daily charge introduced, with those on the highest salaries charged the most, and a discount for the lowest paid.

Last December, a previous version of the policy was put on ice, but the proposals are back on the table, with a decision due to be taken by the council's policy and resources committee today.

Unison has opposed the changes and has won support from the council's opposition Conservative group.

Jonathan Dunning, Unison branch secretary, said: 'It is strange that both Unison and the Conservative group oppose car park charging but we welcome their support.

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'It is an ill-thought, badly planned and divisive policy that has already antagonised staff who are undertaking ever greater workloads to cover for redundant colleagues. Let us not forget many workers covered by this proposal are on or just above the national minimum wage so cannot afford to pay.'

Conservative group leader Cliff Jordan said: 'We know there are not enough car parking places at County Hall but we don't believe in charging the staff because it is an extra tax on their wages.

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'The council cannot have it both ways – low wage increases annually and then charge staff to come to work to receive it.'

Council officers say parking charges are needed because plans to move workers in satellite offices to County Hall would heap more pressure on existing spaces.

Council leader George Nobbs previously said: 'We have been very anxious to be as fair and progressive as possible, as indicated by the charging system.'

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