As you may be aware the Trust has been in negotiations with staffside Unions for a number of years over the issue of car parking permits and charges for both staff and clients. We are writing to you to make you aware of the outcome of the discussions and the actions that the staffside unions have taken and any future actions.
As a result of the discussions there have been a number of alterations, the main alteration to the proposal being to lift the ceiling at which charges start to £20000, whilst welcome, this is not enough to alter staffside beliefs.
It has always been the position of the staffside unions that there needs to be a parking solution where they are parking issues and that this could be achieved on a base by base approach. The staffside unions have always held the belief that charging staff and clients to park is not acceptable, unless there were some absolute guarantees especially about charges rising, owing to our experience of what happens to charges in other hospital trusts. We also feel that asking to pay a charge to staff who have to use their cars for work would not be considered any where else in either the public or private sector. We also believe that this will have unforeseen consequences which the Trust do not appear to have taken into account, such as people parking offsite in residential areas and an increase in travel costs as clinicians claim back legitimate expenses (both of which occur currently but are likely to see an increase in future). It is also likely that there will be an increase in complaints and grievances over parking issues and fines.
Staffside unions have put out two petitions which have identified how Oxford health staff feel with over 1000 people replying that they are opposed to charges. The Trust have also put out a questionnaire and while not asking the question of whether people supported the charge have recognised the level of opposition in their feed back.
Thus despite the overwhelming feeling and staff responses including a collective grievance in relation to the outcome the Senior Management wish to take forward the charging for permits and will be taking this forward in the coming months.
Each union will now be consulting with their members on what responses they are able to take in relation to their own rules and the feelings of their members. It is likely that there will be meetings to discuss the matter and what actions can be taken. We would ask that you get involved as it will only be by working together in an organised and collective manner that we can change this decision. We know that from the recent press this is not only a local but national issue but we need to make our voice heard. To do this requires your active involvement and participation.
Steve Bell Unison steward
On behalf of Staffside Unions