Socialist Worker

Newham council attacks union reps for not striking

by a unison steward
Issue No. 2040

The battle to prevent Newham’s Labour council from pushing through vicious attacks on working conditions continues.

The council demanded that both T&G and Unison union officials repudiate the dust workers refusal to breach health and safety rules and order their members to obey any and all management instructions regardless of whether this might endanger their health.

The T&G complied believing this was the best way to protect members from being disciplined.

Unison officials have protested at bullying tactics of managers but have made clear that no industrial action is taking place.

Despite the fact that the backlog is now largely cleared the council this week has moved to discipline local reps.

The dispute arose when the council tried to impose, without agreement or negotiation, some of the flexible working and unpaid overtime that they propose

in the single status deal which the local reps have rejected.

Under that deal groups of mainly male manual workers are set to lose up to £90 a week from already low wages as their grades are lowered, while some groups of mainly women workers will get pay rises.

The council hopes that workers will accept this policy of divide and rule as more workers will get a pay rise than will lose money.

But there are no winners in the single status deal as the council is trying to rob the women of 50 percent of the back pay they are entitled to

One school worker said, “They are looking at us and thinking that because we are so low paid we are desperate for the money so we will just have to lump it.

“It’s a kind of robbery that comes in the form of a bribe.”

Unison has not yet finished a process of consultation on the deal, but the branch executive committee last week voted to give full support to the dust workers against attempts to bully them.

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Sat 3 Mar 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2040
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