Parking issue

(80 Posts)
Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 09:18:39

I work in a private club.

There is a big car park out to the front of the building, and a smaller one round the side, next to the door. The staff use the smaller one.

Often, when the staff arrive, this area has been filled by lazy members who want to park closer to the door.

The operating hours only cover daytime (so members don't arrive or leave at night), but the staff are here early when it is still dark, and late into the night. It is in a very secluded area, and the staff don't feel safe walking across the carpark to their cars - so we asked if we could have the side part for staff only.

Note - the side one has lighting and is only 10 steps from the door. The big one has no outdoor lighting (can be pitch black - we have to use torches sometimes) and obviously depending on space, you can be parked quite far away. You can't always see your car from the door.

The request went to the board. The board denied it.

AIBU to be pissed off? This is peoples safety. angry

IsItMeOr Thu 30-Jan-14 09:23:02

Perhaps an alternative could be to install some lighting to help people find their way back to the big car park?

I find it hard to believe that, in winter months, the club only operates in daylight hours? Although my mind is boggling at what a private club is?

Quoteunquote Thu 30-Jan-14 09:24:16

take a head torch, I always have one with me.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 09:24:48

They won't pay for lighting. We asked this already.

I don't know what you mean by 'hard to believe' - can you use your imagination a bit? I don't want to out myself but its a club that operates an outdoor activity, so yes, we close at 4pm during the winter months. 11pm in summer.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 09:26:57

quote the staff do use torches at the moment. They don't feel safe walking across the carpark (it's a big carpark) with only a torch.

There is nothing nearby, we are totally secluded.

I just wonder what I can do, if anything, but probably nothing. They've said no. I worry that it's a case of not doing anything until something happens...

Oriunda Thu 30-Jan-14 09:28:39

Speaking as a golf widow, I would hazard a guess that it's either golf or tennis. Unfortunately, whilst YANBU, I would imagine that members' fees dictate that the best parking is reserved for them.

Blu Thu 30-Jan-14 09:29:39

Why don't you feel safe? It is perfectly normal to go to and from work and other activities in the dark! What about staff who isn't public transport ? Presumably they have to navigate more than the 10 steps to their cars? Exactly how much later do you stay after daylight hours if the club closes at dusk?

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 30-Jan-14 09:30:18

Like a tennis club or bowling club?

If board doesn't want to restrict parking, a few motion-sensor lights in the front car park would improve staff safety (and morale) and also site security. What's not to like? Might even bring their insurance premium down.

Blu Thu 30-Jan-14 09:32:53

Are any staff left alone at lock up?

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 09:36:55

Oriunda Nail on the head.

I am just pissed off that the members even want to have these spaces available. They aren't reserved for anyone, nothing is (bar a few spaces for captain etc) so it wouldn't hurt to reserve 2 or 3 for staff.

Blu Normally a few hours, so maybe 7 or 8pm. It's pitch black then. And there is no public transport - you have to drive here. Most people going around at night have streetlights or other people/buildings around. That isn't the case here.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 09:37:28

Blu yes, staff are here alone. They lock up alone.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 09:41:27

We asked for lighting - they said no.

Basically there are over 200 spaces and we are asking to reserve 3 of the 8 that are round the side.

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 30-Jan-14 09:48:20

How secure is your job? Can you say you can't work after dusk and will have to down tools and leave before dark on days when you haven't been able to get a lit space?

Or is there a chance to move your car during the day when the more selfish members go? Might be disruptive but would allow you to stay right to the end.

Disclaimer: IANAL but am feeling PA today grin

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 09:52:22

If someone were to leave to move their car, which we could do, we'd have to leave the premises unattended for a few minutes. We can't really do this. We tried this but it isn't practical. Sometimes it's busy, and you just can't walk out to move your car.

We can't just down tools at dusk, sadly grin

45redballoons Thu 30-Jan-14 09:52:35

I assume it is not the same staff opening up that close up? therefore the issue is that when staff arrive later on, members have the spaces. Could they not allow staff in the big carpark to move to the smaller one when a staff member leaves?

I personally don't understand the issue about walking across a car park so long as you have a torch, but staff should feel safe and it seems quite a simple issue to sort.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 09:53:26

All we want is 3 spaces round the side reserved for staff only. Out of over 200 spaces.

The bastards said no. They 'don't think it is necessary.' hmm

Funnily enough, it isn't their wives and daughters who have to walk across the pitch black car park alone at night.

45redballoons Thu 30-Jan-14 09:53:51

oh right cross post, sorry.

Actually that makes no sense to me, if there are no members when it gets dark why can't you move it when the members leave? surelyl the work can wait the few minutes it takes to move the car, not like you have people you need to attend to in that time.

Quoteunquote Thu 30-Jan-14 09:56:18

I live rurally, we don't have street lights, the ones we do have go out at midnight, life goes on, we go out we work, it's never occurred to me that lighting would change anything.

are you in a very dangerous area?

HeadfirstThroughTheTimeVortex Thu 30-Jan-14 09:56:35

Can you move your cars when the members leave at 4 and it's still light?

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 09:57:53

45red No, during the winter the same person opens as closes. There's also a chef (who often comes in earlier but leaves around 4pm) and then one other person who works 10-4.

I think the issue with walking across the carpark is that it is big, it is surrounded by woodland, it is completely pitch black and you honestly can't even see your car from the door.

45redballoons Thu 30-Jan-14 10:00:11

Ok, then I really don't understand, sorry I'm not trying to be annoying. The person opening would surely get a space where they like as members will not be there yet, the other two may have to park in the big car park but they are leaving at 4 so no issue, surely?

LackingEnergy Thu 30-Jan-14 10:00:39

No club I've been to or any store I've been to or worked at with on site parking has ever reserved the closest spaces for staff (management yes but other staff nope). They're usually told that the spaces furthest from the store/club are the ones they have to use and get a bollocking if they don't :-(

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:01:17

quote I know, I appreciate that some people live rurally and are used to walking around in the pitch black. I live rurally personally, though we have street lights like you do until a certain time. But here there is nothing and it is really pitch black. And most of the staff aren't used to it - they live in a huge city.

It isn't a dangerous area, but it is very secluded.

Scholes34 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:03:04

Sounds like an episode of The Archers with Kathy Perks at the golf club.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:05:12

I will try to explain better.

The captain opens the club at 8am every morning. He has a reserved space.

Members then arrive, and rather than use the main car park, park round the side as it is closer to the door.

The staff (who run the bar) arrive around 8:30am. The side spaces are taken, so they use the main car park.

lacking I hope those staff feel safe too. Maybe they don't.

45redballoons Thu 30-Jan-14 10:06:16

By the way, I don't think reserving 3 spaces should be a problem anyway, unless they really do think it will annoy very high paying members, I'm just trying to understand how the issue has come about.

At two different work places we had this issue and were able to move our cars at dusk. One was in a very bad area where member of staff had been attacked, one was just in a secluded area like you mention.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:08:50

We have been trying to get the staff to move spaces, sometimes they can and sometimes it just isn't practical. By the time they get a chance, it's already gone dark so they don't bother.

It can go from dusk to black in about 15 minutes!

All the members pay the same amount. And the side car park which we are asking for, is actually a grotty bit of land behind some bins, no marked spaces. It is literally just laziness.

45redballoons Thu 30-Jan-14 10:09:31

They work in the bar, but are still there 4 hours after closing? wow! I assumed it was managers you were talking about. Well if it were me and it bothered me that much I'd come in at 8 and do some of the work then rather than the night before so I could get a good space. (again I've been forced to come in earlier than everyone else before to get a space).

Really though, I don't know why it's so much fuss to at least reserve one space for this bar person, I dont think the other two need it.

fay144 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:10:19

If the concern is about crime, then I think you are being a bit UR, as if you are in the middle of nowhere you are going to be a lot safer than if you were in even a well lit populated area (since there will be nobody around to try and rob you).

If the concern is about getting to the car without falling into a pothole or sliding on ice, then that is perfectly reasonable. I'd make another attempt to point out the potential risks and the consequences to your employer - being clear that it's entirely their responsibility and in their control, and requesting a formal risk assessment of access to the parking area.

hmc Thu 30-Jan-14 10:10:30

I'm not sure why everyone else on this thread is just not getting is confused, but OP YANBU. The Club management should either reserve the spaces that you have requested or install security lighting. Could you contact the local police to visit the premises and advise on security etc - I feel sure that they would back you up (although I realise that this could put you in difficult position with your employer)

45redballoons Thu 30-Jan-14 10:11:49

I think your staff need to man up personally! wink

hmc Thu 30-Jan-14 10:13:40

that should be "just not getting it"

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:14:12

Oh god I should have been more elaborate in the beginning!

The staff have to set up for the next day. It takes about 2 hours to clean down from the day and set up for the next. If there is an event/function on (which there is on average 4 days a week) then it can take up to 4 hours.

We have 4 staff. All of them have children at school, and I don't think they could come in any earlier anyway, but even if they could, they'd have to come into work about 45 minutes early, unpaid. I can't see how that is the fairest option!

I agree. I don't see why they can't just give them a bloody space.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:15:57

Agree, the police would probably back me up but I think the board (who have said no) would be really pissed off..

wishful75 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:16:15

All it will take is for someone to fall and hurt themselves in the dark and they are leaving themselves wide open to personal injury claims, especially if there have been documented requests for lighting.

point out the elf and safety.

hmc Thu 30-Jan-14 10:17:22
45redballoons Thu 30-Jan-14 10:17:25

I need lots of detail, but now I have it, yes I am in agreement with you. Could you ask the kids of these people to draw some signs in crayon saying reserved?

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:19:22

hmc maybe I could print that out and leave it on the captains desk..

hmc Thu 30-Jan-14 10:19:36

I realise that USDAW is a shop workers union so not directly relevant - just wanted to show that this is a real not imagined risk in response to the ever so helpful comments about manning up etc

aderynlas Thu 30-Jan-14 10:22:04

Seems a shame that they wont just reserve some staff spaces. Ive worked in a rural location and the problem was potholes etc. Took a torch but while looking for problems on road got hit on the head by a tree branch. Once bumped into a cow !!

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:22:35

The risk is real. Of course it is.

This is a very male dominated workplace (over 900 members, 16 are women) and absolutely no female staff other than myself and the 3 bar staff.

It's hard to get them to listen at the best of times, but trying to get them to engage in something concerning womens safety is near impossible. sad

VivaLeBeaver Thu 30-Jan-14 10:24:40

I get this working at a hospital. Visitors park in the nearby staff car park, trust won't put a barrier on the car park. I have to park in another staff car park far away and isolated. Finish work at 10pm go back to the car in the dark, no lighting.

Three colleagues were recently approached by an odd bloke asking for lifts and trying to get into their cars.

PurpleRayne Thu 30-Jan-14 10:50:41

Go for the duty of care angle and employers liability. If something nasty happened, particularly after the issue had been previously raised, the question of negligence and employer's liability arises.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:51:32

I feel like we jut have to suck it up until something happens.

They've voted, they've said no. It's bullshit.

Quoteunquote Thu 30-Jan-14 12:11:42

well if you want them to take on board, then drop the gender aspect, men get attacked too,

have there been a lot of attacks or threats?

and any argument from the company will contain that they have a duty to prioritise their clients, which is hard to make them change.

could you leave in pairs?

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 12:31:49

I haven't mentioned any gender aspect.

I don't think it is ridiculous to suggest that women leaving on their own at night, in the dark, are more vulnerable than men, or more likely to be attacked, or have more reason to feel scared. hmm

There haven't been attacks or threats - that's irrelevant. I don't know peoples personal details - they may well have good reason to feel scared, it's not relevant.

We aren't asking for priority. Just to ask the members to stop using the side spaces.

No they can't leave in pairs as only one person is here to lock up.

SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 12:39:24

Could the two people leaving at 4pm - the chef and A. N. Other that you referred to earlier - hang on for five minutes to cover the premises at the end of their shift while the person or people who will be working beyond 4pm move their car(s)? As they can then walk to the car park together once car-mover is back at their post?

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 12:42:12

Well, yes they could.

Both of them leave 'around' 4pm. So, they could be waiting around a bit plus they can't cover the bar so would just be there telling people to wait a few minutes. Not the end of the world, granted, but hardly ideal.

I realise there are 'solutions' but they are all ridiculous, complicated, and involve putting people out.

Why not just allow us to reserve 3 spaces. One bloody space, if needs be.

Viviennemary Thu 30-Jan-14 12:49:03

I think it is reasonable to want to get to your car in relative safety. And the company has refused all sensible suggestions re extra lighting and reserved spaces. You should raise it as a health and safety issue. They should have a safety rep.

wobblyweebles Thu 30-Jan-14 12:59:00

It sounds like they need to install lighting. We all have to walk a long way to our cars after work in the dark (3,000 people on one campus) but I don't worry about it as there are lights.

I don't think it gives the best impression to members if the few spaces near the door are reserved for staff - you might have a good reason but the members won't really be aware of it and it'll just look like staff being lazy.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:05:37

To clarify:

The spaces I am talking about aren't 'near the door' as such. They are round the side of the building, away from the main carpark, but are a shorter walk from the front door, and as the building has outside lights which are on at night, there is sufficient light to see your car from the door.

You actually can't even see the spaces unless you drive around the side of the building.

So I don't think members would think staff are being lazy.

Incidentally, the club professional staff have their own spaces, Marked and painted.

Spatsky Thu 30-Jan-14 13:17:46

I can't see that you need three spaces, just o e for the person locking up and think the club is being unreasonable in not allocating one space.

Point to note though, bet ya that if they did allocate a staff place at the side members would constantly park there anyway out of habit and selfishness so suspectit wouldn't be a solution in practice anyway.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:20:20

Maybe three isn't necessary then. We just thought it wouldn't be a big deal, as there are 3 staff and over 200 spaces.

These spaces are behind the bins. They aren't even a nice place to park!

And yes, the members who park their now might continue to do so, but at least we would be able to ask them to move.

Pooka Thu 30-Jan-14 13:23:38

I can see that it might be expensive to light the main car park. Which s why it makes sense to reserve the parking nearest to the building for staff leaving after dark.

Who makes up 'the board'? Is it made up of elected members? Are there any staff members on the board (like you get on a school governing body)?

I can sadly imagine the uphill struggle to achieve change if it's a golf club you're talking about. Would it be possible for you to take the issue back to the next board meeting, to raise again all the points in favour of changing situation?

In the meantime, I have a friend with incredibly poor night vision. He swears by head torches.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:25:44

No, no we aren't involved with the board at all. It is, as you said, made up of elected members (all male). We can't go to the meetings.

Trying to get them to change anything is a huge nightmare. But this is something I really thought we could get them to understand that regardless of anyones perception of safety, the staff are not comfortable coming out alone at night.

45redballoons Thu 30-Jan-14 13:26:33

I am going to stop asking questions about 'can't the staff do X because you said Y' because I feel everytime you answer something I have another question! (like if the club shuts at 4 why would there be any need for the chef to tell the people at the bar at 4 to wait while the other person comes back, also why is a chef incapable of working the bar for a few minutes - seriously don't answer this!)

However, none of that matters as you've handed me a new bone. If the specialists, I assume instructors, massage people etc. all have spaces then it seems silly there cannot be one space reserved.

I do think there are things that can be done if staff feel uncomfortable, from what I have read I do think they could help themselves a little, but, I also don't think reserving one space is all that difficult and would just sort out the problem.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:31:17

45 I am going to as I hate unanswered questions wink

The club shuts at 4, but because we are licensed until 1am, there is no requirement for the members to leave at 4pm. Basically they can sit as long as they like finishing their drinks - they just can't buy any more.

The chef can't work on the bar for a few minutes as he doesn't have a licence to serve alcohol - so it would be illegal.

The staff do try their best to get these spaces, and more often than not, they do. They do go and move, if possible, when they haven't got into a space in the morning (main problem is that you have to leave the building to see if the space is free.. so it can turn into multiple trips just to see if there is even a space available) but more often, they do get parked in these spaces.

We are just trying to make sure the space is guaranteed so there aren't times when they don't. It's just basic safety, I don't know why they've said no.

bigbluebus Thu 30-Jan-14 14:18:13

Is it possible the board said no because the people parking around the side are actually the board members?
It does beggar belief that someone won't walk a few extra yards but can manage 18 holes of golf and the walk that it entails. But then as a gym member, I have seen people who park in the disabled space next to the door and then go in an do an hours workout. In fact come to think of it, one of the gym instructors parks in the disabled space too.
Can you find some cones somewhere and just put them in the spaces one night before you leave, so they are there first thing in the morning grin

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 14:19:04

Ooh, sneaky bigbluebus - I like it grin

That is a very good point though, I wonder if they are...

nennypops Thu 30-Jan-14 14:27:46

Can you find out who their insurers are, or at the very least ask if they have told their insurers about it? If someone did get attacked or have an accident in the main car park late at night, I don't think the insurers would be too amused having to fork out because the board has specifically been alerted to the issue and has refused to take perfectly reasonable steps to remedy it. Apart from anything else, they would certainly want to put the premiums up.

45redballoons Thu 30-Jan-14 14:44:31

Surely so long as the bar worker doesn't leave the car park then the chef doesn't need a lisence? also if they aren't allowed to buy any after 4 then they wouldn't have to serve anyway?

AAAAAAAAAAARGH, I don't know why I keep doing this! I am on your side afterall I do think they should put in a friggin reserved sign!

45redballoons Thu 30-Jan-14 14:45:31

bigbluebus this really gets me too, people will drive half a mile to the gym to walk on the treadmill!

oscarwilde Thu 30-Jan-14 14:53:35

Ironically if members cars were vandalised in the main car park there would be motion detected security lighting and CCTV in no time at all

wobblyweebles Thu 30-Jan-14 14:56:11

Ahh just read your reply to me - in that case I think I'd go with cones or something similar. Would that work?

Featherbag Thu 30-Jan-14 15:00:21

YANBU, I totally get what you're saying. I don't understand what some other posters are finding so unreasonable. Did you put your request in writing? With the specific risks you want to address by having the spaces reserved ?

ProfPlumSpeaking Thu 30-Jan-14 15:13:39

So if the staff arrive first (in the dark) then who is it that is already in the spaces? confused

If it is members, then I expect they appreciate the light (in the dark of morning) as much as staff. I agree that there should be more lighting though if anyone (staff or members) feels intimidated and scared.

Frusso Thu 30-Jan-14 15:18:56

Request lighting in the bigger carpark.surely that would benefit staff and patrons.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 15:19:49

The club opens before the clubhouse. So, some days members are already parked there when the staff arrive.

They probably do appreciate being closer, as much as the staff would. But it isn't as dark in the morning as it is late at night, and they are quite happy to walk round for the next 4 hours outside so don't think their argument holds much weight.

DameDeepRedBetty Thu 30-Jan-14 15:20:51

Do any of you know the wives of these antediluvian board members well enough to get them nagging on your behalf? Or their daughters? They'd help quickly enough if it were their own precious womenfolk at risk wouldn't they?

DameDeepRedBetty Thu 30-Jan-14 15:22:45

Frusso they asked. The board said no. Because they're a bunch of unreconstructed male chauvinist pigs.

Juno77 Thu 30-Jan-14 15:24:29

dame no, I don't know any of their wives or daughters.

They are very old fashioned. It's not a very nice environment. Not all of them, obviously, but the majority. Really.

Felyne Thu 30-Jan-14 15:40:06

I'd look at info from the Health and Safety executive. If an accident happened in your car park because it was dark and you couldn't see properly I'd think they would get done for it. It is the employer's responsibility to manage risks, not the employees'.

SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 16:41:48

Interesting point, Felyne. Although they may display the standard car park disclaimer, they might still be liable for damage if the damage was caused by an action which could be reasonably foreseen or prevented (e.g. by providing lighting in the main car park?) and of course they have a general duty of care to their employees.

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 30-Jan-14 17:04:13

Agreed, Felyne, particularly since in this case the risk has been identified and a reasonable mitigation identified but rejected. That will be minuted in black and white somewhere.

GreenShadow Thu 30-Jan-14 17:35:48

I work in a not-dissimilar environment where we have to work into the evenings and sometimes leave the building alone in the dark, so have every sympathy.

Do you have a 'Lone Workers' policy? If not, I would suggest that your employers create one. Templates should be easy to find on-line - perhaps you could point them in the right direction of one highlighting leaving the place of employment at night

ProfPlumSpeaking Thu 30-Jan-14 17:51:43

ok, so it's not the mornings that are a problem - just the evenings, right?

zipzap Thu 30-Jan-14 21:04:38

Any reasonable male members that would take up your case? Or 'close friends' that could write to the local newspaper to see if they think it is reasonable (obviously you wouldn't want to do this yourself in case they decided not to continue with your services, but a 'worried friend' could on your behalf), especially if you play up the misogynistic old male angle...

Are any of the members that you get on well with solicitors? Could the female staff write a formal letter as a group to be held on file to complain raise the issue and the risks as you see them, and raise the spectre of liability if there was a problem... Get the friendly lawyer member to cast their eye over it it whilst you pour them a free drink and hopefully they will a) say it's ok and b) have a little chat with the board to point out that they are laying themselves open to being sued if there are future problems.

Wordsaremything Thu 30-Jan-14 21:28:19

What are you more worried about?
The disrespect shown by the male dominated environment you work in when voicing your concern or a genuine fear that any of your colleagues - male or female presumably- will be attacked in the golf club car park? Are the men using this car parking issue as a way of underlining what they think is a superior status?
Is this golf club in a very bad area and have their been any worrying incidents? I think the head torch idea a very sensible one.
Walking in dark places has never remotely bothered me, but then I live in the country.

Wordsaremything Thu 30-Jan-14 21:39:59

What I'm getting at is the type of crime I would associate with the scenario you describe would involve some form of vehicle theft, although this is becoming increasingly uncommon with better security features, theft of cash or goods through break in, or more rarely assault on a member of staff carrying keys or cash. So not necessarily a gender issue. Are you worried about security more generally?

Wordsaremything Thu 30-Jan-14 21:41:41

Sorry scrub round that. You never said it was a gender issue. My apologies.

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