Over 1,000 people attended a marvellous meeting in east London last week to celebrate the fifth anniversary of The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO). TELCO is a coalition of faith, school and community organisations as well as trade union branches, working together for social justice. The meeting, entitled 'Solidarity in action', was packed with a range of strikingly diverse people.
Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and others filled the meeting and reflected the ethnic diversity of east London. The opening statement read from the platform was about the events since 11 September, supported by many of the member groups, entitled 'Justice not revenge, peace not war'.
This was followed by a minute's silence for all the victims of violence. The meeting also included a session on TELCO's Campaign for a Living Wage of £6.30. The chair of the Homerton Hospital trust and a representative of HSBC, shortly to occupy a new tower next to Canary Wharf, were both at the meeting. They were subject to questioning on the platform about their commitment to paying contract workers a living wage.
Domestic staff from Whipps Cross Hospital, who came to the meeting straight after working a twilight shift, were given a standing ovation. Val Dunn from UNISON, and John Monks, leader of the TUC, spoke in support of the campaign. The Greater London Authority has agreed to introduce a 'Fair Wages' clause for all contractors working for the GLA.
TELCO wants all local employers to pay at least £6.30 an hour but will start by focusing on the local health trusts.