A UNION is seeking a firm commitment from East Renfrewshire Council that it will not introduce controversial workplace parking charges.

Unite spoke out after MSPs granted local councils the power to introduce a workplace parking levy.

East Renfrewshire Council told the Barrhead News it has no plans to introduce the charges at present, but the union are wanting bosses to completely rule out using this new power.

Unite’s Scottish secretary, Pat Rafferty, said the Scottish Parliament had made a major mistake is passing the measure in the Transport Bill.

He added: “The focus should have been on properly funding public transport to encourage people not to use cars instead of potentially penalising them for doing so when there is often inadequate and poor service provision.  

“We have written to all councils including East Renfrewshire asking they explicitly rule out using this new power. 

“The implementation of the measure will exacerbate the pay crisis affecting local authority workers. It’s also important to say we continue to call for the Scottish Government to give more financial support to local authorities as it’s estimated our public services are underfunded by £100m.”

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MSPs granted final approval to the Transport (Scotland) Bill earlier this month in a vote of 56 to 29, with 18 abstentions.

It came after they considered hundreds of amendments to the legislation in a seven-hour session at Holyrood.

A last-ditch bid to remove the charge was defeated by SNP and Green MSPs - with Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats all having voted for it to be removed.

The Bill will also give councils powers over creating and enforcing new low emission zones, the provision of bus services to meet social needs and a ban on pavement and double parking.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Transport (Scotland) Bill will lead to improved journeys for the travelling public and help deliver a cleaner, smarter and more accessible  system. The Bill does include discretionary powers for local authorities to introduce a workplace parking levy.

“This will give councils another tool to help address the climate emergency. 

“Local authorities will be able to exempt any groups, such as police officers, or premises based on their individual local circumstances.”