Thursday, 5 January 2012

A parking hero

The case of a parking warden fired for failing to issue enough tickets

My run-in with parking wardens back in April 2007 was extensively covered in the media in titles that included the Evening Standard, Daily Mail and Metro. I was even described as “the most persistent person our court has ever encountered” when I went before The Parking & Traffic Appeals Service at New Zealand House in Haymarket, SW1.

An April 2007 Evening Standard piece relating to my dispute with Hammersmith & Fulham Council over one of their parking enforcement operatives stating that: "We only bother towing away the expensive cars."

Today, however, I was delighted to read a piece in the Daily Mail about a parking warden in Kensington & Chelsea who decided to buck the stereotype attached to his profession and behave with decency. For doing such, this poor man got the sack last February.

Former parking warden Hakim Berkani

Hakim Berkani, who has taken his unfair dismissal case to an industrial tribunal, came under “severe pressure” when he repeatedly failed to issue 10 tickets on each shift. After being told to improve on the number he was giving out, Berkani came across an email from Emma Collins, a senior manager at NSL, Kensington & Chelsea’s parking firm, that stated:

“There are a significant number of people issuing at a rate of below 0.9 per hour… We should not be uncomfortable about using the disciplinary process.”

Ultimately what caused Berkani to be fired, though, was when he tipped off a driver who was about to be given a ticket by another warden. For simply preventing someone committing a parking offence before it had happened, this kind man was punished through the loss of his job.

So far, the tribunal has also heard that:

·      One of Berkani’s colleagues was cited as an “excellent example” for issuing 35 tickets in a single shift. This individual was described as generating “good revenue for the Council” and it was suggested that: “Everyone should generate the same revenue as him.”
·      Two of Berkani’s colleagues were reduced to tears for failing to issue  a sufficient number of tickets.
·      Fellow wardens named their company “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.”

Amongst the many parties who have written to the tribunal is The Reverend Canon David Reindorp, of Chelsea Old Church. The Reverend Canon testified that he was “delighted to see [Berkani] giving traffic wardens a good name,” before adding: “I always thought he was an object lesson in how to do a tricky job well."

I wish Mr Berkani all the vey best: Emma Collins and her “team” of thieves are a disgrace and I very much hope that this tribunal rules in Mr Berkani’s favour.

Read the Daily Mail’s coverage of my own experience with parking wardens at:


MrGorse said...

Do you still have the same car now?

Matthew Steeples said...

Sadly I don't. No car currently.

Adam Peterson said...

This guy deserves the OBE.

Matthew Steeples said...

I totally and utterly agree, Adam.