GMB tobacco workers oppose Nottingham's parking levy

Image caption The parking levy is being introduced to help pay for public transport improvements, including tram lines

Workers at a Nottingham tobacco firm have voted to take industrial action over the city's Workplace Parking Levy.

GMB union members at Imperial Tobacco will start a week's overtime ban on 30 April to protest at the firm's decision to pass on part of the cost to staff.

The GMB said Imperial Tobacco could easily afford to foot the bill for the levy, which is £288 a year per space.

The company said the GMB was the smaller of two unions and it did not expect disruption to output.

'Outrageous' decision

The GMB represents about 140 workers at the 600-staff factory with Unite representing the remaining workers.

A GMB spokesman said: "The company are adamant that they are going to impose this tax on workers.

"The workers' position is that it is a tax for the employer not the employees."

GMB regional officer Chris Needham said: "It's outrageous that a company that makes £608m profit cannot even consider putting forward support to their workers over this levy.

"It is a tax that quite clearly the government has imposed on the people of Nottingham and now the employers are taking every opportunity to use it to crush the terms and conditions of our members. "

An Imperial Tobacco spokesman said it had not yet received official notice of the action.

The company said earlier it was "taking a reasonable and responsible approach by proposing to share the cost burden with its employees".

Mr Needham said the firm wanted employees to pay between £125 and £192 a year towards the levy.

Employers with 11 or more parking spaces now have to pay Nottingham City Council £288 a year per space under the Workplace Parking Levy.

Many employers have decided to pass on some or all of the charge to their staff while some have reduced their car parking spaces.

The council has introduced the levy to pay for transport improvements, including the extension of Nottingham's tram network.

Councillor Jane Urquhart, who is in charge of transport, said the city council expected to meet its income target over the 23-year period of the levy, generating an average of £14m a year.

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