Council workers in Tower Hamlets, east London, walked out on a one day strike on Tuesday of this week. The workers, members of the Unison union, are protesting against the imposition of changes in the council’s sickness policy.
They say these amount to a draconian attack on workers rights and health, involving intimidating sick workers into work – in an area with some of the worst health statistics in the country.
Picket lines on all major council workplaces except schools took place along with a rally at 11am.
The strike is one of several disputes to hit the New Labour run Tower Hamlets council of late. Members of Unison and the National Union of Journalists struck last year over the victimisation of Defend Council Housing activist Eileen Short.
John McLoughlin, the branch chair of Tower Hamlets Unison, told Socialist worker, “The strike has been pretty solid.
“The council has brought in a new sickness procedure that’s triggered if you’re off work for more than five days. You have to ring a private call centre in Surrey every single day to explain why you’re not at work.
“The call centre operator then contacts your boss to hand the information on. We’re being told to pass on confidential medical details to someone who isn’t medically qualified. It’s really just about bullying people.”