Socialist Worker

Tower Hamlets strikes called + Reject pay deal + Councils in cash crisis

Issue No. 2709

Council workers struck over pay in 2008

Council workers struck over pay in 2008 (Pic: Bob Watt on Flickr)


Workers in Tower Hamlets are preparing for strikes after bosses renewed attacks on their pay, terms and conditions.

The Labour-run council in east London is trying to roll out the Tower Rewards programme. It would slash workers’ redundancy pay and severance pay.

Now Unison union members have voted to strike on 3, 6, 7, 14, 15 and 16 July.

Unison and NEU union members were preparing for strikes in March and April, but called off the action because of coronavirus.

In response, the council pushed back the implementation day to July.

Workers’ have been ready for strikes for many months—now is the time to turn words into action.


Say No to this pay deal

About 100,000 council workers in the Unite union will take part in a consultative ballot on a pay and conditions offer for 2020-21.

The 2.75 percent pay offer amounts to a rise of as little as £1.83 a day.

The Local Government Employers’ offer was made in April. Unite says it “has been met with astonishment and disbelief at the lack of respect and regard shown to essential workers who have been supporting our communities throughout the crisis”.

The ballot of workers in England and Wales is set to run from 3 July to 14 August.

Workers should vote to reject the offer.

But it will take serious strikes to force the Tories and local government employers to cough up more.


Councils face coronavirus costs crisis

English council leaders are warning of a bleak future unless they receive more funding to cope with the costs of coronavirus.

The mayors of London, Greater Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool issued a joint statement last week to ask for more support from central government.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said there’s “a very serious risk that the economic recovery from Covid-19 will be choked off by a new era of austerity” unless “the government acts immediately”.

Tory prime minister Boris Johnson promised an additional £63 million at prime minister’s questions last week.

But this will only scratch the surface.

For instance, councils across the Liverpool city region said that their Covid-19 expenses will be around £341 over the next six months.

Yet they have only been allocated £100 million from central government.

There is a battle on the horizon over who pays for the Covid-19 crisis.

As central and local governments pass the buck to each other, ordinary people should prepare to fight for jobs and services.


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