Protest over Barking and Dagenham council staff parking

Protesters gathered outside municipal offices to voice their anger at plans to charge council staff for car parking.

Members of the Unite union assembled outside Barking Town Hall and the Civic Centre in Dagenham with placards and banners on Thursday lunchtime to rally against the council’s plans to charge its staff �20 a month for leaving their vehicles in council car parks.

The council is considering introducing the �240-a-year permits for 1,250 staff in a bid to generate �300,000 as part of its three-year savings plan.

Adele Kaplan, Barking and Dagenham branch secretary of Unite, said: “We have all come together because we believe in these hard times we should not try to generate income from staff.

“They have already had their pay frozen for three years, which is effectively a pay cut since living costs are rising.

“Having to pay �240 to park we find unacceptable. We would like the council to reconsider their decision.”

A council spokesman said: “We recognise that these are difficult times for staff. However, we need to be fair to residents who have to pay to use car parks.

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“The proposed cost for an annual permit is equivalent to roughly �1 a day and is below the average for London councils.

“The council needs to find �48million in the next three years as a result of public spending cuts imposed by central government.”

Council staff would have to pay to park their cars during working hours at Dagenham Civic Centre and other offices including Ripple Road, Barking, and Stour Road, Dagenham, from the summer.

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