TRAFFIC wardens will be going on strike today as planned, May 7, protesting a proposed "10 percent pay cut".

This would be through changes to worker's unsocial, standby and callout payments.

Members of the trade union for Wiltshire Council staff GMB are taking part in the strike action across the county, including in Salisbury, claiming the authority has refused negotiating with ACAS, the government’s conciliation service, in a bid to avoid the dispute.

Keith Roberts, GMB regional organiser, said members "are being forced to take action" as a result, adding: “Our hands are tied - if the council doesn't want peace, then there will have to be a fight."

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He said: “It is unheard of, in my experience, for a local government authority to rebuff ACAS talks seeking to avoid a strike.

“Wiltshire Council seems to have got in a muddle proposing an unfair and unworkable pay cut for front line workers, and doesn't seem to have the management skill or wisdom to get out of the mess it has created."

Mr Roberts claims the strike action could cost the council up to £30,000 a day in lost car park revenue and penalty charge notices, anticipating "zero parking enforcement" across the county today.

Salisbury Journal: Parking machine in council-operated Brown Street car parkParking machine in council-operated Brown Street car park

Terence Herbert, chief executive of Wiltshire Council, previously told the Journal that discussions with the unions Unison, Unite the Union and GMB were "ongoing".

He said: “Workers’ pay is not being cut. We are reviewing our unsocial hours, standby and call out policies, and no final decisions have been made as the negotiations continue.

"However, we do need to make some changes to agree policies that are standardised, fit for purpose, financially viable and support delivery of our business plan, while ensuring staff are fairly and appropriately rewarded."

Despite this Mr Roberts said: “To be clear, there are no negotiations in progress, and Wiltshire Council is to blame for any strike action that our members feel it is necessary to take.”

GMB members assembled outside Salisbury Library on Tuesday, May 3, to promote today's strike action.

With a picket line being set up this morning, a rally and demonstration will begin from 1pm in the city.

Afterwards, at around 1.40pm, there will be speakers from GMB Union on Salisbury Library’s steps.

Wiltshire Council is reminding people that all parking restrictions and charges will still be active, despite industrial strike action.

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