College makes £33K a year from staff parking charges

Union says charging staff is 'morally questionable' and demonstrates 'management mindset of entitlement and privilege'

Julia Belgutay

City of Glasgow College charges staff for parking and operates a waiting list

City of Glasgow College raised more than £33,000 from parking fees paid by college staff in 2018-19 alone, Tes can reveal.

A survey of all Scottish colleges, to which 16 institutions responded, showed that the Glasgow institution is one of only two where staff have to pay to park on campus – the other being Perth College.

City of Glasgow College told Tes the institution’s executive team did not have to pay for parking but, for other staff, spots were allocated on a first come, first served basis. A waiting list is in operation, with 45 people at the college’s city campus and a further three at the Riverside campus on it. Charges apply only during term time.

According to the college – one of three in the city but the only one that charges staff for parking – £33,426 was raised from staff parking in 2018-19, compared with £22,504 the previous year and £8,660 in 2016-17.

More: Colleges make £2.4 million in staff car parking charges

From England: Staff parking charges – how much has your college made?

Opinion: 'Paying to park at college makes me feel unappreciated'

'Profiteering attitude'

A spokesperson for the college branch of the EIS FELA union, which represents lecturers, said it was "critical of what we believe is a profiteering attitude on the part of college management". "One example of this is the practice of charging staff hundreds of pounds to access parking facilities that highly paid members of senior management are allowed to use free of charge," they added.

"This is both morally questionable and also demonstrates quite clearly the management mindset of entitlement and privilege. The issues with this practice are exacerbated by the fact that the charges implemented differ between the two campuses as the college seeks to maximise profit. There is also the knock-on effect of increasing tension between local residents and those accessing college facilities having to compete for the limited on-street parking in the area. This is merely one example of a range of questionable, so-called commercial activities.”

At the city campus, staff are currently charged 11 payments of £55 for parking – which means the annual cost for the permit is £605 for a car in 2019-20. For motorbikes, the total cost for the permit is £220 annually – 11 payments of £20.

Parking at the Riverside campus is cheaper, with an annual car permit costing £440 and a permit for motorbikes costing £165.

Perth College also has car parks where staff are charged – with an annual staff permit costing £112, 80p per day or 50p for four hours. There is, however, an “unmade ground” car park that is free of charge. In total, the college raised £14,745.09 from staff parking in 2018-19 – a similar amount to that raised in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Free or reduced parking

A spokesman for support staff union Unison said it was “concerned if senior staff at City of Glasgow College are supplied a free space (whether they use it or not) while other workers have to pay. Surely, if prioritisation is given to any staff for free or reduced-cost parking, either it should go to the lowest paid or a sliding scale of fees should be introduced.”

He added: “If Unison reps at City of Glasgow College had been consulted over the adoption of this policy, they would have raised concerns about the lack of consideration given to workers with childcare responsibilities and for low-paid workers.

“Unison has previously raised its concerns about multiple guaranteed spaces in college campuses for senior staff while other staff and students have to take their chances on streets or pay for commercial parking. The argument used previously has been that senior staff may have to move between campuses throughout the day. This doesn’t wash as the same can be said of many ordinary staff members.”

A City of Glasgow College spokesperson said: "As a major city centre employer with campuses in the busiest parts of Glasgow, we encourage staff to first make use of the excellent public transport links close by or to car share or cycle. They also have access to a free electric car shuttle service. Our environmentally sustainable approach means we deliberately have many fewer parking spaces than we have employees. We are keen to do more so parking is likely to reduce even further in coming years and in line with the council's city plan.  

"Staff who choose to take part in our annual car parking ballot do so knowing that the cost is substantially less than city-centre parking charges and that the revenue goes directly back into our college services."

Colleges that do not charge staff for parking

  • Edinburgh College
  • Forth Valley College
  • North Highland College
  • Glasgow Clyde College
  • Ayrshire College
  • Lews Castle College
  • Moray College
  • Dundee and Angus College
  • Glasgow Kelvin College
  • Shetland College
  • Dumfries and Galloway College
  • North East Scotland College
  • New College Lanarkshire
  • South Lanarkshire College

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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