Frontline presents some success stories of stewards and reps working with members on local campaigns to address concerns about staff parking provision.
Giancarlo Tolaini, MSK physio in Norfolk and CSP steward
‘This summer, our joint union team campaigned against the trust’s proposal to introduce parking charges for staff at North Walsham and District Memorial Hospital. North Norfolk is a rural area and public transport links to and from North Walsham Hospital are poor so that the majority of staff working there have no choice other than to drive to get into work. The trust planned to introduce parking restrictions and charges in line with other hospitals in the patch, but we argued that it was unfair to compare urban hospitals with rural ones – each locality should be treated in its own right. So we set up a petition against the proposals – on paper and online – which got more than 1,000 signatures, and we protested outside the hospital. We also met with the trust leadership to present the case on behalf of staff, and they listened. As a result they decided not to introduce parking charges.
For me, this demonstrates that you can challenge and win and it shows what you can achieve when all unions work together. I’m really pleased for all the staff.’
Joshua Meadows, extended scope physiotherapist in Northamptonshire, and CSP East Midlands regional steward
‘We work in partnership on a car parking strategy group where there is open two-way discussion. While the trust does have high parking charges, they also currently understand the value of keeping staff parking free for compliance, morale, finance and retention. Staff side have been active in lobbying this view and opposing any charge. The main issue is that there is not enough car parking, and there is a health and safety risk when people block fire exits when parking, so we are in agreement that things do need to change. They have developed a car
Parking at all NHS hospitals in Wales is free
parking strategy paper, which has had staff consultation and proposes solutions for each site. The main point is expecting staff who work and live within a two-mile radius to walk, and also encouraging cycle-to-work, as well as updating shower facilities, and exploring park and ride, alternative parking facilities, change in bases and different ways of working. As with any of this sort of work, there is a chance that things can be totally different in three months’ time, which emphasises the need for our staff side to be on the ball in this.’
Vicky Reynolds-Cocroft, physiotherapist in West Norfolk, and CSP steward
‘We stopped a 100 per cent hike in car parking charges at an employer in King’s Lynn that would have affected about 50 CSP members. Together with other local union colleagues I campaigned, organised a vote, protested and spoke on the local news. We got members to write personal stories to tell to the trust board. We fought hard with management at our local negotiating committee. The upshot was that fees were increased only slightly, and differentiated based on pay banding.
A new scratch card system was introduced for part time staff and the trust opened new car parks so there were more car parking spaces. It really demonstrated to me that when all the unions work together we can make big changes.’
Department of Health and Social Care, March 2019 (responding to a petition calling for free parking for all parking for all NHS staff at hospitals in England):
We encourage trusts to develop transport and parking plans to assist staff in travelling to work. Many hospitals provide incremental rates on
If you have a car parking or other local workplace issue, get in touch with the CSP organising team who can provide support and guidance: firstname.lastname@example.org
parking dependent on the staff member’s salary, to ensure those who are in need the most are not adversely affected. In addition, many trusts also implement a number of schemes, such as cycle-to-work, car sharing applications, salary sacrifice (to which tax incentives can be applied) and public transport vouchers. However, we have been informed that such schemes have sometimes had low uptake, so we would also encourage staff to take advantage of these schemes where possible.
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