Diary of a Parking Enforcement Anarchist
A while ago, I was told at work that I had no future with the company
unless I spent a lot of money getting a driving licence I have no need for,
living in the city centre as I do. At that point, I made a decision to try
to ensure the company I work for lost the contract they currently have for
enforcing parking restrictions in Manchester.
This is the diary of the trouble I have so far managed to cause.......
Mon 21st June
Went to work as usual. Spotted notice on wall asking for people to apply
for Team Leader vacancy. Conveniently, I already have my letter of
application in my pocket! Handed it in upstairs, now I just have to sit
back and wait for them to think of an excuse not to promote me this time.
Thurs 24th June
Got up this morning to go to work and there was a letter waiting for me on
my way out of the door. I'm apparently invited to a Team Leader assessment
course next Friday, which will be the 2nd of July. Looks like I may have a
chance of the job after all. Further details about time and place of the
course to follow apparently. They'd better hurry up, it's only eight days
Thurs 1st July
Haven't received anything else yet confirming time and place of this course
that I'm supposed to be going on tomorrow. Had a word with Mike and Chris,
my two bosses. They told me the course has been put back to next Tuesday,
and they'll let me know the details later.
Tues 6th July (a.m.)
Supposed to be on that course today, no-ones given me details about it
though. No managers around to ask either. I get the impression I'm being
Tues 6th July (p.m.)
Mike, one of the two senior managers finally made it into work. I asked him
what was going on with this course thing I was supposed to be on. He called
Heather, who is in charge of the H.R. Department, and then passed his phone
over to me.
She told me that I am not allowed to even apply for the position of Team
Leader unless I have a driving licence. I point out to her that there are
currently 3 Team Leaders who don't have driving licence, including the last
two people appointed to the position. She told me the rules have changed
and I'm not to bother applying ever again.
That's gratitude for you. Two and a half years of slaving away and working
my ass off for this damn company, trying to get ahead. And now I'm told to
forget about ever getting promoted. I'll show them the bastards.
Weds 7th July
Got to work. Decided that initially the quickest way to hurt them is in the
pocket, so went on a go slow. Only issued 7 parking tickets today, instead
of the 37 I normally do. A few strange looks from Team Leaders when I tell
them how many I've done, but nothing said.
Weds 14th July
New Pound Manager arrived today. He looks to be a right pompous git. I
already had one argument with him, and I think he realises that I'm not a
person to mess with. He tried to send me out on patrol in the rain, when I
was piss wet through. I pointed out to him that I was aware of health and
safety regulations regarding people riding bikes in wet weather, and he ran
Weds 21st July
It's been a bad week for the guys on the bikes. Had two serious accidents,
although one wasn't an accident anyway. One of the lads turned off a main
road into a side street, and didn't notice the car coming the other way.
Looks like he's going to be off work for some time.
Another guy was booking someone in Moss Side, which is not a very nice area
of Manchester, when he saw a group of people hanging around by his bike and
laughing. Thinking to himself that it might be a good idea to get out of
there, he got on his bike and started riding up the street.
One of the guys that had been near his bike got in a car and started to
chase him up the road, so he turned onto a side street hoping to lose him.
The car pulled alongside the bike and sideswiped it into a lamppost. Poor
bastards lucky to be alive, although no-ones sure yet if he has a broken
back or not. They have to wait for the swelling to go down first.
Something has to be done about this, but I don't know what yet.
Thurs 22nd July (a.m.)
I can't fucking believe this. Official deployment, which means someone has
to go. To the same street where one of our lads got forced into a lamppost
yesterday. And they want whoever goes to go on his own. I don't fucking
think so. Told Paul, my Team Leader, that I wanted a meeting between
management and all the bikers at 10:30 when the second shift start. Or
I think he got the gist of what the 'or else' meant.
Thurs 22nd July (10:30-10:55)
Meeting between all the bikers and new Pound Manager to try to resolve
certain issues. He was very hostile towards us, and didn't want to listen
to anything we had to say, but we stuck to our guns and are now allowed to
go out riding in pairs, instead of alone. Which at least gives us a little
back up in case of trouble.
Also forced him to agree to look into other issues, such as bikes not being
good enough and radio's not working properly, especially in the rain.
At one point though he said something very contentious. He told us that if
a fellow member of staff is being attacked, either one of the bikers or one
of the people on foot, it is not our responsibility to attend. If word gets
out about that there's likely to be a riot, as I personally attended 4 such
incidents in the last week alone, and was first on scene every time.
If word gets out.....now there's an idea....
Fri 23rd July (a.m.)
Got to work earlier than normal in order to inform people that in future if
someone is smacking them over the head with an iron bar or something the
bikers have been ordered not to attend. That got them going.
What really wound them up though was in the briefing when they asked a
simple question, and were met with the door being slammed in all our faces
by our new Pound Manager.
Before you know it, everyone is out on strike.
It takes the press 43 minutes to arrive, and it's already been announced on
radio. Manchester City Council don't seem to have heard yet.
Oooops.......spoke too soon. They just showed up, and they don't luck
happy. Unfortunately, our senior managers all seem to be stuck in traffic
on the way into work. Interesting.....
10am, and the second shift arrive. One of them has brought a football
along, so we're all having a kick-about in the car park.. Seems like they
must have been informed we're not working today already!
Managers are here now too, including some big-shot from head office. Quick
chat amongst ourselves and we have people nominated to go and represent us
in the sure to soon happen urgent talks with management. Who seem to be
standing around looking lost and trying to work out what to do next.
11am, and the meeting starts. Looks like a huge can of worms has been
opened up here, and our new area manager is looking more shocked by the
minute as he hears how bad the working conditions are. He seems a decent
enough sort, and says all the right things to try to calm things down,
including promising us a consultation committee where the staff can meet
with management regularly to try to resolve issues.
After discussion, a few people decide to meet the company halfway and go
back to work for the day. The rest of us go to the pub to start the weekend
early, with a promise ringing in our ears of no repercussions against
anyone for todays actions.
Sat 24th July
Conveniently I have the next 3 days off work, so all the fuss will have
died down by the time I go back. I spend a large part of those 3 days
laughing about how well orchestrated our sudden walk-out was, and how
practically no-one realises that I was the person mainly responsible for it
just by saying the right things to the right people.
Weds 4th August
One of our staff in the city centre got shot at today. Fortunately, she
wasn't hit, although her indestructible hand-held computer was, and is now
in need of urgent repair. For some reason, no-one bothers to warn staff to
avoid that area. Strange that.
Sat 7th August
Another one of our staff got shot last night, which would be Friday. He was
shot in the neck, although it seems it was only a small calibre B.B. gun,
and no serious damage was caused. I found out about this by accident.
Again, management didn't bother warning us to avoid the area. Incidentally,
it was about 400 metres from the sight of the shooting on Wednesday.
This is not good. It's bad enough there's someone running around town
taking pot-shots at us. Even worse is the fact our managers seem to be
under the impressions it's not an important enough issue to tell us about
Mon 16th August
One of our managers, Mike handed his notice in today. He leaves in four
weeks. Everyone at work seemed totally apathetic at the news. It just means
we're going to get another numpty to replace him.
Mon 16th August (in the pub)
Big topic of discussion tonight was Mike's decision to quit, and how we
could use that information to cause disruption. Which was when I came up
with the idea of everyone applying for his job. Must remember to work on
that idea a little more.
Tues 17th August
Wrote out a letter applying for Mike's job tonight. Very well worded
document, even if I do say so myself! Now I have to try and get everyone at
work to sign it. Might need to make some copies of it as well.
Thurs 19th August
Made 80 copies of my letter on company photocopier that I'm not allowed to
use. Started pulling people one by one towards my locker and getting them
to read and sign. A few people wanted copies for themselves, but I
explained that I was going to keep hold of all copies for security reasons.
I don't want word getting out about this if I can help it.
Fri 20th August (early a.m.)
I just realised that from the 28th of this month I'm off work for 3 weeks.
Note to self, must step up campaign of chaos between now and then.
Fri 20th August (10am)
Absolutely pissing down with rain all morning. Had already decided that I
was probably going to refuse to work for rest of day in these conditions,
when I was informed rules have changed as regards bikers taking breaks due
to adverse weather conditions.
Apparently we are now only allowed to take breaks 2 at a time, for a
maximum period of 15 minutes at a time, and no-one else is allowed back to
the office for a break while there are 2 people already here. Oh, and we
have to ask permission before we can take a break, no matter what the
I got on radio and called all bikers back to the office, then as soon as
they arrived I ordered them to sit in the briefing room and say nothing to
anyone, before going upstairs and telling management that the bikers are
now on strike.
Fri 20th August (12 noon)
Meeting called between Pound Manager and all bikers, who are conveniently
available due to the fact we've all been sat doing nothing for the last 2
hours. Discussions take place, and new ruling regarding breaks is dropped.
We can now come and go on breaks whenever we feel it is appropriate.
Then we get asked if we're willing to go back out. I point out it's still
absolutely bouncing with rain, most of us are still soaked due to lack of
suitable drying facilities, so the answer is no. Not on the bikes anyway.
Decision made to let us patrol in a mini-bus instead, so now we're waiting
for one to come back to the office to pick us up.
Fri 20th August (1-30pm)
Still waiting for mini-bus to arrive. Can't think what's taking so long.
I'm sure it's got nothing to do with the message I sent the Team Leader
driving the bus to try to delay return for as long as possible.
Fri 20th August (2-15pm)
Mini-bus finally comes and picks us up, just as the rain starts to dry up!
Not that it matters, my shift ends at 3-30 anyway!
Mon 23rd August
I get a call telling me that one of the guys on the 10am shift went home
early on Saturday to watch football, and that his Team Leader paid him for
his full shift. If this is correct, the Team Leader could get in a lot of
trouble. Need to investigate this...
Tues 24th August
I manage to get a copy of the note-book from the lad who went home early on
Saturday. Clear differences in handwriting towards the end of the book.
This suggests that someone else finished off his book for him. Which will
almost certainly be the Team Leader who let him go early. Need more
Weds 25th August
Only a few more days and then I'm on holiday. Still running around getting
people to sign letters applying for Mike's job. Up to about 45 signed now.
Managed to get hold of enough evidence to drop the Team Leader who let the
lad go home early right in the shit. Now all I need to do is find a way to
get it to the people that matter.
Thurs 26th August (a.m.)
I tell a few people that I think we should all go on strike again tomorrow.
General consensus after discussions is that everyone is willing to go on
strike, but they want to know why. I tell them I'll let them know in the
Thurs 26th August (p.m.)
Got home from work and typed out a statement that will be issued from staff
to management tomorrow morning explaining why we're going on strike again.
Main reason is because nothing at all has happened since the last walk-out.
Am just finishing congratulating myself on a job well done when I get a
It's the local newspaper. They've read the statement I just finished
writing and want to know if the strike is going ahead tomorrow morning. I'm
confused. How could they have got hold of that statement already?
It's not like I e-mailed it to them or anything. And I certainly didn't put
a note at the bottom asking them to keep it to themselves until tomorrow
Fri 27th August (6:45am)
I get into work, much earlier than usual, in order to pass around statement
to staff so they know why we're all going to walk out. Notice photographer
from local newspaper parked in car park. Interesting.
Walk into work, and as I step into briefing room I am followed by area
manager, contract manager, and pound manager, who all take up positions and
make it clear from their stance that if I want to organise anything I have
to do it right in front of them.
Like anyone could be that stupid.
Although it's clear someone spoke to the wrong person at some point
yesterday. Plans are in jeopardy. Or at least, they would be if I hadn't
anticipated something like this might happen. All I have to do is stay calm
and wait for the diversions to kick in.
Fri 27th August (7:10am)
Damn I'm good!
Simultaneously, all three managers are distracted.
The contract manager is pulled to one side so someone can hand in a letter
of complaint about one of the Team Leaders. It's a long letter.
The pound manager is pulled to one side so that one of the bikers can hand
in uniform requests from all the bikers. We all want a completely new set
of uniforms apparently, as the weather recently has been horrendous causing
us all to be putting on wet gear every morning. If we have two sets, we can
have one wet and one dry. Great idea.
The area manager is also pulled to one side, as one of the staff members
wants some information about another contract that they're thinking of
In the meantime, I stand there in the briefing room and tell everyone that
we're going to do the briefing as normal, go outside like nothing is
happening, and then all drop our equipment in a heap in the car park so the
photographer can get a nice picture.
I also pass a copy of the statement to someone I can trust to give it to
management at the appropriate time.
Fri 27th August (7:40a.m.)
Management are breathing a big sigh of relief as we all walk outside, which
quickly becomes something else when they glance at the c.c.t.v. monitor and
notice what we're up to. We all get dragged back inside before the
photographer gets a chance to get the picture he wants, and the statement
is surreptitiously handed over.
Looks like we're on strike again!
Fri 27th August (9:40am)
Just spent two of the most boring hours of my life listening to area
manager go on with himself. Upshot of it all is, we're going to go outside
and wait for the next shift to have meeting with management, before we
decide on next step.
Fri 27th August (11:40am)
Still bored, still talking. Eventually, management make a promise that a
document will be handed to every member of staff at 4pm with times and
dates that certain things will be in place by. Also an agreement reached
that management will give twice weekly briefings detailing just where they
are up to in attempts to change things.
We go back to work just after 12, but management know they have to produce
that document or we'll be on strike again in a few hours.
Fri 27th August (3:59pm)
Just on time, contract manager turns up and gives us what we asked for.
Looks like we wont be going on strike again today then. Although I think
they realise the first date on this piece of paper they miss we'll be
walking out again.
Sat 28th August (11am)
I'm now officially on holiday for the next 3 weeks. I'm supposed to be
working until 4, but decided to go home early. No-one seems to mind, as
they clearly think that they can rest in piece for a few weeks with no
trouble likely to be caused in my absence. If only they knew.
Have to go back a few minutes later to take all the letters out of my
locker. A total of 52 people applying for Mike's job, just as soon as I put
letters in envelopes and post them.
Tues 31st August
Went to work to get my wage slip. Bumped into pound manager as I was
leaving, who asked what I was doing there. I told him I was getting my wage
slip, and was informed that if not on duty I'm not allowed on premises. I
asked him if that meant he was willing to illegally deny me access to my
own personal and private locker, at which point he turned around and walked
When will he learn not to mess with me?
Weds 1st September
Spoke to a friend of mine from work called Pete. He has a grievance meeting
tomorrow afternoon regarding the letter of complaint he put in against Team
Leader last Friday morning. He wants me to be his witness. I agree happily.
Thurs 2nd September
Go to work for grievance meeting. Hand Pete copy of his complaint letter,
which I printed off my computer this morning, just so he can refresh his
memory as to what he's complaining about!
Meeting takes place, looks like Team Leader may be heading for a tumble,
and on the way out of the office I manage to make a mental note of a fax
number for someone very high up at Manchester City Council.
Everything falling into place nicely.
Also arrange for 52 letters applying for Mike's job to be posted tonight,
by handing them to a friend who works at the post office. So I don't even
have to buy stamps!
Fri 3rd September
Today is the day I make use of the information I gathered last week against
Team Leader who let someone go home early.
First off, I type up a cover note, detailing what I'm accusing her of, and
pointing out which parts of each document I have will prove the
That done, I head out and look for a shop where I can send a fax from.
Struggle to find somewhere, until I remember the library. So I go there.
And they agree to send fax for me.
Problem is, fax number is engaged, so I have to wait. Then the assistant
notices the fax number, and asks me if it's someone at Manchester City
Council. (Library, incidentally, is council run and next door to the Town
I admit it is, and he suggests I should go next door and hand deliver it. I
tell him that the fax contains delicate information, and I can't really
risk being seen with it. At which point he offers to send it himself
through the councils internal mail system.
This sounds like a good idea to me, so that's the way we do it. So sometime
on Monday this letter is going to arrive in a council department, having
come from another council department, and a certain Team Leader is going to
be in a lot of trouble.
And around about the same time, 52 letters are going to arrive in the H.R.
Department, all applying for my bosses job.
And of course, it's got nothing to do with me, because I'm on holiday!
As I leave the library, I get a phone call. It appears that another one of
the Team Leaders has a bit of a gambling problem, and is thousands and
thousands of pounds in debt.
It would be a shame if something like that was to get around the people at
work now, wouldn't it?