Parking wardens to walk off the job in Wellington
Wellington parking wardens went on strike on Friday afternoon over a wage dispute with the city council.
E tu union assistant secretary John Ryall said the Wellington City Council refused to include wage rates in the parking wardens' collective agreement for more than two years.
The wardens began a march from outside the council buildings in Wakefield St at 3pm, and ended in Courtenay Place, where they picketed until 5pm.
The union has lodged a case with the Employment Relations Authority about the stalemate with the council.
Ryall said: "We believe that the ongoing refusal of the council to negotiate wage rate or include them in our collective agreement is a serious breach of good faith".
"We have been to mediation three times, held high level meetings with the council and now we feel that the only option is to go on strike.
"There may be more of it if we can't come to an agreement."
Wellington City Council spokeswoman Barbara McKerrow said the dispute was over how wages were negotiated.
"We are puzzled and disappointed by this action, but have agreed to keep to talking with the union."
The council holds an annual remuneration forum with E tu and other unions instead of including wage rates in a collective agreement.
"We think that this type of approach is the best way of achieving consistency and fairness across all council employees," McKerrow said.
"We brought the parking services in-house in 2014 and increased staff wages to the then-living wage. We are now increasing that again to the current living wage rate of $20.20 per hour.
"Some 17 of our parking services staff are not E tu members – so there will still be an enforcement presence in Wellington this afternoon. Motorists can still expect to be ticketed if the park over-time or park dangerously or inconsiderately."
Parking warden Steven Carlyon said: "We're at the stage where we need to send the council a message".
"This is about our ability and our right to bargain for our wages as well as being able to negotiate how we move up the wage scale and into other roles, maybe even management.
"It's our right to have this in our collective agreement. Everyone around New Zealand has the ability to have their wages written into their agreement so why is Wellington City Council not agreeing to this."
* An earlier headline of this story incorrectly suggested the strike might lead to a parking free-for-all.