By Sarah Bates
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Tower Hamlets council retreats—for the moment

This article is over 4 years, 3 months old
Issue 2700
Unison members in Tower Hamlets striking in 2018
Unison members in Tower Hamlets striking in 2018 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Thousands of workers are celebrating after an east London council backed off from sacking them at the eleventh hour.

Tower Hamlets council was due to sack around 4,000 workers on Tuesday of this week and then re-employ them on worse contracts.

But in a dramatic move, the Labour council said it would suspend the Tower Rewards programme until June.

The contracts would undermine workers’ severance pay, redundancy agreement, and pay grading scheme.

Unison and NEU members were due to strike for one day in March and two days in April.


But the walkouts were pulled as coronavirus hit the capital, and workers wanted to deliver key services.

John McLoughin, Tower Hamlets Unison branch secretary said, “We’re pleased—it’s a victory for the moment.”

“We feel it’s a victory for our members, a credit to their resilience and a victory for people in our community,” said John.

“We’ve got a battle still to come. But it was a principled decision to suspend the action.”

“This underscores our determination that, at the end of this crisis, ordinary workers will not be asked to pay the price, and not be forced into accepting detrimental conditions,” he said.

Medway Norse reneges on agreement and attacks union

Medway Norse, a partnership between Medway council in Kent and outsourcer Norse, has reneged on an agreement over coronavirus safety won after a recent walkout.

Medway Norse has also announced that it is de-recognising Unite and its health and safety reps.

Steve Wilkins

Protest to managing director [email protected] and Medway council leader [email protected]

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