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The Socialist 8 July 2020 |
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Tower Hamlets council workers strike against wholesale attack on terms and conditions
Tower Hamlets Labour council is using the worst methods of private sector bosses to impose detrimental changes, photo Hugo Pierre (Click to enlarge)
Council workers across all services in Tower Hamlets, east London, have been on strike against attacks on their terms and conditions.
The long-running dispute, known as 'Tower Rewards', came to a head with members of public service union Unison downing tools on Friday 3, Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 July. Unison has announced further strikes from Wednesday 15 to Friday 17 July.
Unison hoped to avoid industrial action by involving the conciliation service Acas. But all hope was dashed when council bosses announced they were determined to sack 4,000 staff on 6 July, and reengage them on the controversial new contract, no matter what.
It is an outrage that a Labour council is using the worst methods of private sector bosses to impose detrimental changes. One picket told the Socialist: "For the last few months, the council have been calling us 'key workers' and 'heroes'. But now we're being sacked and reemployed on worse pay and conditions - and being told we're letting down the community by going on strike."
The council has been unwilling to defer the change to allow further talks to take place, and more distance to be put between the peak of the pandemic and any potential confrontation. This left staff with no choice but to strike.
Bin workers, mainly in general union Unite, refused to cross picket lines in solidarity. They have recently been on strike themselves against their former employer, Veolia, before being brought back in-house.
East London Socialist Party