Backlash over Liffey Valley proposed car parking fees
LIFFEY Valley Shopping Centre are to reduce proposed parking fees for staff but it does not go far enough, according to opponents of the charge.
The shopping centre are facing a backlash amongst retail workers, after news last week that staff could be hit with a whopping car parking charge of €780 per year.
This has been reduced by management this week to €600, but staff feel it is “still too much”, according to Gemma O’Brien, who works at Peter Marks in Liffey Vallley.
“My phone hasn’t stopped since I got involved, but we need more people behind this, we need them to ring their own head offices,” she said.
The centre has approximately 1,200 staff, and currently has free parking, but that is set to change by mid-October.
Customers face a €2.50 charge for the first hour, and the next two hours free.
TD Mark Ward, who is working with staff on the issue, said correspondence he received from the centre, is that they are not negotiating with individual staff, rather with the business owners, or rate payers directly.
“Staff don’t believe this reduction is adequate. Everybody is feeling the cost of living crisis, and to be landed with a big bill nobody expected, is not sustainable.”
Liffey Valley have cited the €30m works programme as a key objective to “deliver a greatly improved and enhanced customer experience”.
“As part of this programme, we will remove 200 car park spaces to facilitate the new BusConnects interchange as this is also a transition project to provide customers and staff with new and more sustainable ways to access the centre. There is a very clear policy requirement nationally, regionally and locally to switch to more sustainable modes of transport, we are adding real alternatives to staff and customer,” they said.
Under the new proposals, staff will pay €2.50 a day for parking, but there is uncertainty surrounding availability at a proposed designated staff parking area, and what this rate means for part-time staff.
Ms O’Brien said: “There is not enough space in the designated area. It is not lit up. If you start at 1pm and by the time you get there, it is full, have you to go into the customer car park and pay whatever the rate will be for that day.”
This flat rate is also a major concern for Deputy Ward.
“I have had people on to me who work zero hours contracts. They don’t know what their work hours are from one week to the other. Some are on four hours a day, and yet they are fully expected to pay a full day rate. None of this is taken into consideration.”
The Echo asked Liffey Valley if this flat rate applies to all staff, and they said: “For registered staff members, one discounted rate of €2.50 per visit will apply for all.”
The Echo also asked the centre if the designated staff car park have enough space for staff.
“We are happy that we will have adequate allocation of car park spaces for staff members and customers at Liffey Valley once the new arrangements commence,” said the centre.
The Square in Tallaght also announced that they are introducing a customer parking charge of €1 for the first three hours, but a staff parking charge of €100 per year remains.
“If The Square can do that, there is no way Liffey Valley can’t,” said Deputy Ward.
“Liffey Valley have made a huge investment in the BusConnects, and it will bring more people in, but they shouldn’t expect staff to pay for that and to fund the interchange.
“Lots of staff live in Bawnogue but there is no direct bus from Bawnogue to Liffey Valley. I would encourage management to talk to staff. They are the ones impacted directly.”