UNISON members working for Tower Hamlets Council and in Community Schools are getting ready to take strike action after smashing through the Tory industrial action threshold of 50% turnout. Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action to stop the imposition of a new contract that would worsen their terms and conditions. The ballot result was 98% of members in schools and 89.6% in councils voting to come out on strike!
Strikes will take place on 24 March and 1 and 2 April, with more dates planned after Easter. Camden UNISON will be publicising any marches/rallies and protests that members can support as soon as we have the details. It’s some time since we’ve had a strike across a whole Council and so they need to know fellow trade union members support them. Tower Hamlets UNISON was the single biggest donor to our traffic wardens when they were on strike, and members visited their picket lines and came on our marches so it’s time for us to return the solidarity! Camden UNISON has already agreed to send a message of support and make a donation to to both trade unions involved (UNISON and NEU, the teachers’ union).
The new Council contract will include cutting a range of allowances, slash severance pay, reduce the current flexi scheme and worsen pay on some grades.
The council are ironically calling the new contract ‘Tower Rewards’ but UNISON has rebranded it ‘Tower Robbery’.
The council issued 12 weeks’ notice to all council staff meaning if they don’t accept the new contract they will be sacked and out of a job on the 13 April 2020.
UNISON is now in talks with the NEU to coordinate strike action after teachers impacted by Tower Robbery also successfully voted to take industrial action.
Assistant Branch Secretary, Kerie Anne, said: “The council’s treatment of hardworking and dedicated staff providing public services has been shocking, as has the behaviour from senior managers through the consultation process. Rather than wearing UNISON members down it has had the opposite effect and galvanised the workforce to fight back. Disappointingly senior managers have not spoken to UNISON branch officers for months, preferring to communicate instead by a series of formal letters threatening to take the union to court to stop its ballots and raising other frivolous complaints. Now that they are faced with a concrete threat of a strike that has the potential to shut this borough down, Tower Hamlets Council must abandon its high handed and aggressive methods and begin genuine talks with us to settle this dispute.”