Hospitality workers at ‘greater risk of attack’ under workplace parking levy plans

A WORKPLACE parking levy could put hospitality workers at greater risk of attack, a trade union official has told MSPs.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 8:11 pm
Councils would be given the power to charge employers for parking spaces

Helen Martin, assistant general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, said having to pay for parking at work could force low-paid staff working unsocial hours to stop taking their car into work, leaving them to walk home at the end of their shift.

She said: “We’re running safe home campaigns constantly with hospitality workers because they are getting attacked on the way home because they can’t afford to take a taxi because their wages are so low.”

Asked if hospitality workers currently took their cars to work, she said some did and some did not. “The ones who don’t get attacked on the way home. You are potentially putting more people into that category.”

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Ms Martin also told Holyrood’s rural economy and connectivity committee that low-paid staff would be hit hardest by the levy while well-paid bosses had their costs taken care of by their companies. “It’ll go into the package of the CEO that you get your parking space, it won’t go into the package of a cleaner.”

She said in Nottingham - the only city already with a parking levy - about half of employers passed on the charge to their workers. “If this was coming in in a unionised workplace, the union would defend the terms and conditions of the workers and try to ensure the employer didn’t pass it on to the employee.”

There was also a clash at the committee between Green MSP John Finnie, who has tabled the amendment to the Transport Bill giving councils the power to introduce a levy, and David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, who branded the policy “a pig in a poke”.

Mr Lonsdale’s written submission argued the levy would be another burden on business.

But Mr Finnie said: “This is the latest in a number of things you’re unhappy about - you’re unhappy about the apprenticeship levy, employer pension contributions and the statutory minimum wage. This is just the latest whinge really, isn’t it?”

Mr Lonsdale said there had been no impact assessment carried out on the proposed levy.

“I find it quite astonishing we are talking about this levy without any sense whatsoever as to what the impact would be.”