Socialist Worker

Strike for rewards in Tower Hamlets council and schools

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2693

Unison union members in Tower Hamlets support a school strike in 2016

Unison union members in Tower Hamlets support a school strike in 2016


Tower Hamlets council workers in east London have backed strikes against a series of attacks on their pay, terms and conditions.

Unison union members who work at the council voted by 90 percent for strikes, while members at the borough’s schools backed walkouts by 98 percent.

Unison branch secretary John McLoughlin told Socialist Worker, “This is an overwhelming rejection of management’s attempts to impose contracts and its threats to use the law against us.

“To get a turnout of over 50 percent in both ballots is a significant achievement.”

Unison rep Tom told Socialist Worker it was “a brilliant result and shows the determination of workers to stop this council forcing us onto new contracts”.

“This Labour council is doing the Tories’ dirty work,” he said. “We should fight until the council withdraws its proposals.”

NEU union members in schools have already returned a 95 percent vote for strikes. The GMB and Unite unions, which also represent workers at Tower Hamlets council, are balloting their members for action.

Scheme 

The Labour-run council wants to force workers to accept worse terms and conditions under its “Tower Rewards” scheme.

Council bosses said they are going to sack and re-engage workers on worse contracts in April—and threatened legal moves to stop the NEU and Unison ballots.

Strikes could see thousands of workers from four unions walk out together.

“The council needs to reconsider and step back from threats or we will be looking at sustained action,” said John.

Tom added, “It’s really important that every worker fights attacks on our terms and conditions.

“With Boris Johnson in government there are going to be further cuts. Public sector workers will need to fight against austerity.”


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