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Tower Hamlets council workers and teachers unite to ballot for strikes to defend jobs

Issue No. 2241

More than 5,000 workers in Tower Hamlets, east London, could soon be on strike against cuts.

Some 3,000 council workers in the Unison union began a strike ballot this week in their fight to stop 500 job cuts.

They are coming in behind around 2,000 teachers in the NUT union, whose ballot ends next week.

The unions plan to coordinate their action and call a one-day strike together at the end of March.

The Unison members previously backed action by five to one in an indicative ballot. And the NUT members’ ballot began after a unanimous vote at the biggest teachers’ meeting in the area for decades.

It comes as Tower Hamlets council spirals into chaos over the cuts after protesters marched on the council’s budget-setting meeting on Wednesday of last week.

It emerged the next day that the protest, combined with fighting between Labour and ex-Labour councillors, meant the council had ended up failing to pass its budget.

The council, which is run by a group of independents around mayor Lutfur Rahman, has called a recall meeting for Wednesday of next week to try to pass the cuts.

It was recently revealed that the borough has the highest child poverty rate in Britain. Yet the cuts would hit nurseries, disability services for children and youth workers.

The co-ordinated strike will be the key to piling the pressure on the councillors—and getting them to back away fromn the cuts.

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Tue 1 Mar 2011, 18:46 GMT
Issue No. 2241
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