When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
New controversy in Eastleigh Borough Council parking row
CONTROVERSIAL plans which will see council tax payers subsidise parking for hundreds of council staff is at the centre of a new row.
While the subsidies for workers will be phased out councillors will still be able to park for free – a scheme that has come under fire from union bosses.
The parking row was sparked earlier this week when the Daily Echo revealed Eastleigh Borough Council is to move its headquarters from Leigh Road to the town centre next year, from a facility with free parking for staff to none at all.
The council has come up with a scheme to ease that extra financial burden, by giving staff a travel allowance that reduces over time.
But Unison criticised the plan saying that to have to pay for parking at all will, in effect, be a pay cut for employees.
Now they have also hit out after it was revealed that while staff will have to pay to park councillors will be able to reclaim theirs.
The council is set to move to its new £12m headquarters Eastleigh House, in Upper Market Street, in March.
Under the proposed travel scheme the lowest-paid will get £800 for the next three years, dropping gradually to £267 by the year 2021/2022, a total of £4,801.
The highest earners would receive an allowance of £533 in the first year, but this would drop to nothing by 2017/2018.
An annual parking permit in Eastleigh costs £1,067.
Staff who take the bus or train, cycle or walk will still be paid the allowance, but new staff will not be included.
The council says the timelimited scheme would be self-funding and therefore not be a cost to borough residents over the life of the scheme because as the council pays less the staff pay more in parking.
The document that details the scheme seen by the Daily Echo states that councillors are not employees, do not receive a salary and their base is from home.
But Peter Terry, regional organiser for Unison south east, argued that councillors are paid an allowance by the council so should be treated the same.
He said council clerks and officers attending a meeting would have to pay to do so while councillors at the same meeting got their parking money back.
“On legitimate council business they will be entitled to free parking, that doesn’t apply to employees,” he said.
“It’s effectively a pay cut and yet they’re protecting their own allowances.
“They are both being affected, but councillors are compensated in full and employees compensated only in part. That in my view is hypocrisy.”
Mr Terry added that this issue should have been considered when the council chose to move.
Leader of the council Cllr Keith House declined to comment but said he would talk to unions.
Comments are closed on this article.