The wardens have gone on strike after claiming that drivers have become more aggressive towards them after the standard parking fine went up from €11 to €17 ($15 to $24).
“Since the fine went up on August 1st, we’ve been faced with much more aggression,” said Yannick, a striker interviewed by newspaper Aujourd’Hui.
“With the economic crisis, people are not happy about paying more. One colleague was threatened with a knife, others with guns and I was threatened myself with a machete.”
“The mayor needs to take our problems into account.”
Since Friday, the city’s drivers have been able to park for free. Striking wardens have been out in force to tell drivers the good news.
“What great news,” said one, Valentine, who was about to put money into a meter. “We’re so fed up with paying. I support this strike 100 percent and hope it lasts as long as possible.”
“Usually I hate traffic wardens but today I almost want to kiss them,” said Robert.
The strikers are demanding a monthly increase of €120 to €150 to their pay to compensate for the increased risk as well as improved emergency procedures and a longer afternoon break.
Local newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré reported on Monday that city authorities have accepted an increase in the afternoon break from 20 to 30 minutes and promised improved procedures to intervene when aggressive situations arise. They still refused to increase the wardens’ pay.
“We haven’t noticed any increase in aggression as a result of the fine increase,” said city official Marie-Josée Salat.