Socialist Worker

Workers in Tower Hamlets fight Labour council’s plan for cuts

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2692

Unions united in Tower Hamlets (Pic: Sheila McGregor)

Unions united in Tower Hamlets (Pic: Sheila McGregor)


Workers in Tower Hamlets, east London, are redoubling their efforts to fight back against a Labour council determined to carry out brutal attacks.

Council bosses tried to use legal action to block ballots for strikes against its “Tower Rewards” programme, which would slash workers’ severance and redundancy pay.

The council was poised to take the NEU union to the High Court last Friday, but withdrew its challenge at the eleventh hour.

It argued that strikes by school workers would cause financial hardship to parents and lead to an increase in “anti-social behaviour”.

The results of the NEU ballot weren’t released, as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.

The Unison union was also threatened with legal action over the specifics of its ballot.

Some 2,200 of its members at the council and schools are voting on strikes, with the results out next week.

Unison branch secretary John Mcloughlin told Socialist Worker, “When the council threatened the law that seems to have galvanised people’s moods.”

John said that “all of the indications” showed strong support for fighting back. “We’ve had a series of votes—and the votes against Tower Rewards have remained consistently high,” he said.

“It’s shocking to us that a Labour council is seeking to change our contracts when the workforce rejected them.

“Although we got the council to get rid of a number of changes, they want to cut our severance pay.

“It’s a signal they’ll keep making more cuts and getting rid of people on the cheap.”

Council bosses are threatening to sack and re-engage workers on new, worse contracts on 13 April. But if workers vote for strikes it could see united action before then.


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