Take action on parking charges that will affect West End
17 October 2011
Protests by Equity members, Musicians Union and GMB members, night-workers and bikers against the extension of parking charges in the West End have caused Westminster Council to put back the introduction of proposed extension of West End parking charges. Now the Equity Council is calling on all members to sign a petition for the charge extension to be dropped altogether.
Westminster Council has proposed that charges will run after 6.30pm on weekdays and on Sunday during the day. Charges will run until midnight from Monday to Saturday and from 1pm to 6pm on Sunday. The council is proposing a rate of £2.20 per hour from Monday to Thursday and £4.40 per hour on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This could mean charges of up to £25 a night. These charges could force many low paid workers in the West End to use public transport at unsocial hours, compromising the safety of those travelling home alone. See The Stage report on the extended charges here.
A demonstration was held outside Westminster City Hall on Wednesday 12 October where musicians played music and netertainers handed out leaflets while the nightworkworkers were given lifts on the motorbikes of the No to Bike Parking Tax demonstration to protest outside Westminster City Hall. Many performers fear that the new parking charge would price them out of performing gigs in the West End. The nightworkers are worried by having to travel home, if they can actually do so, on public transport in the early hours of the morning.The nightworkers worry about their safety travelling home should they be lucky enough to find connections that would take them to their destinations. The cost of parking would reduce their wages and for the performersmake it unfeasable to take work in Soho, Covent Garden and Marylebone. At teh demonstration Westminster was filled with sounds of 'When the Saints came marching In', while the roar of motorcycles heralded the arrival of the nightworkers. See on-line pictures of the demonstration here.
Westminster has a very large number of theatres and other entertainment venues at which Equity members from across the UK work. The Equity Council is encouraging all members to support the campaign against the extended changes by signing a petition: sign the petition here.