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4,000 Tower Hamlets workers will be ‘fired and re-hired’ next Monday to drive down their employment rights. Here’s how to support them

A message sent by the Unison union to supporters explains the shameful treatment inflicted by Labour-run Tower Hamlets council. Send your support:

Please support 4000 Tower Hamlets Council workers.

We are writing with some bad news. The issue is still not resolved, the new contracts will be forced on workers by sacking and re-employing them, and Tower Hamlets Unison has announced strike action on 3, 6 and 7 July. We need your help urgently!

Support our fellow workers by sending a letter to Tower Hamlets councillors (all contact details here) Share this open letter so we can draw more labour movement support.

Keep up to date with the news of the strike action and join the virtual picket.

Feel free to use this draft for your email [to Tower Hamlets councillors] but make your own points:

“In Tower Hamlets and all over the country, council workers are on the front line of the response to COVID-19: carers, caretakers, children’s centre workers, housing and homelessness workers, street cleaners, support workers, social workers, teachers of children with special educational needs, teaching assistants, and many others – not to mention the thousands of council workers in non-critical backroom roles who have now volunteered for redeployment to make sure that vulnerable people in our communities have the support and supplies they need during an unprecedented crisis.

We may be relaxing measures, but the crisis has not gone away. Neither has the debt we owe key workers who helped us in time of need. And yet on Monday 6 July, 4000 employees of Labour-controlled Tower Hamlets Council will be sacked. The Council are doing this so they can impose new contracts that will reduce existing employment rights.

These substantially worse terms and conditions were all overwhelmingly rejected in individual ballots conducted by their unions. We call on you as councillors, on Mayor John Biggs and his Chief Executive, Will Tuckley, to suspend the notice terminating their employees’ contracts and defer the change so a period of talks and a potential solution could be found.

Тhe COVID-19 crisis changed everything. Both the NEU and UNISON understood immediately that it would be irresponsible to be in active dispute during a crisis of this magnitude. UNISON invited the Chief Executive to suspend the dispute until the emergency had passed. Mayor John Biggs and his Chief Executive, Will Tuckley, responded at the last minute by delaying the contracts imposition to 6 July.

Yet now, despite all their hard work, workers are threatened again and have no choice but to initiate the previously delayed strike action. On 3, 6 and 7 July we stand in full solidarity with our carers, cleaners, teaching assistants, social workers, library staff and many many more. Sacking and re-engaging staff now would be deeply damaging, and it would stand in stark contrast to the kind words of support and appreciation we’ve heard at all levels of government for the work of public sector workers.

As a Labour councillor, you are elected to represent and defend the interests of the labour movement. It is shameful that a Labour authority would actively go against the best interests of its workforce. We demand that the imposition of new contracts is suspended and instead a new period of negotiations is resumed.

We believe these changes fall disproportionately on women, on black and Bangladeshi workers, and on workers from other minority ethnic groups. We therefore urge the Council to provide accurate Equalities Impact assessment and data, reflecting on the negative impact on our large BAME workforce and communities as a whole.

Labour clapped for key workers, knelt for BLM, knocked down statues and put out statements. Now you need to prove in real terms that you stand in solidarity with workers, you support union action and you will do all in our power to end racial inequalities, not further them. Yours faithfully”


The ‘fire and re-hire’ tactic is being increasing used, including lately by British Airways, to deprive staff of their contractual terms and conditions. It’s unconscionable for a Labour council to use it.

Please support the Tower Hamlets workers against the exploitative action of a council that should know and do better.

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  1. One point, the labour councillors are not elected to defend the labour movement. They are elected to represent and defend the interests of their constituents. The two may coincide but are not the same. The interests of Unison officials do not come first.

    1. Since when protecting the interest of 4000 public sector workers isn’t in the interest of the constituents? Even the constituents around St Katrine Docks and some living in the luxury developments in Docklands should be concerned about this practice of firing and rehiring, as it could happen to them too.
      They maybe think differently but they are still part of the salaried population. How would they feel if the same was applied to them?
      Plus a point to take into consideration, the labour Cllrs were elected under a labour banner. Don’t you think that the residents that voted for them, did so because they were representing Labour values?

      1. It’s a good point but ‘the values of the labour movement’ are capable of being interpreted in many different ways. I would imagine Corbyn and Starmers interpretations are somewhat different for example. You are right that having good public sector services is in the interest of all voters so in this case they are together. If (say) some Labour figure wanted a general strike in favour of stopping ‘no deal Brexit’ others might not agree.

  2. Now you know why I’ve railed against SB’s support of government hyperbole over Covid-19.

    Did you *really* not get that it was the headlight of an on-coming train coming towards workers, not a plague?

    1. The reason you have constantly spread fake news about Coronavirus , claiming it isn’t a major pandemic problem, (currently increasing exponentialy globally you moron) , RH, is tht you are a paid Troll shill for the Big Business interests that want the working class back at work, creating surplus value again, no matter how many of them coronavirus kills. You are a scumbag of the first order, RH, as you were throughout your anti Corbyn, pro EU, pro second Referendum, trolling before you got your new ‘minimise coronavirus’ brief from your paymaster handlers .

      1. Our resident negative Trot snide manages to get Troll and Shill into the same insult! You really are a walking cliche aren’t you! Your every utterance on here is 100% Troll. Nothing constructive to say. Ever. Don’t try to pretend you ever had anything but scorn for Jeremy Corbyn and everything he stands/stood for.

        And you have the balls to call anyone else a “scumbag of the first order”! Now fuck off back to your wank-closet.

      2. Ha’penny You are either totally stupid, or the *actual* shill, since you can’t string a sentence together without inventing total fictions. Or could be – you’re genuinely delusional, I suppose, after experiences of rejection. But if the latter, do stay away from siruations like this where your instability and fragility is always going to be constantly exposed – that would be my advice.

        AS I recall, it was you who actually spent a lot of babble slagging off Corbyn – not me. The rhetoric was the usual Wolfie left-loser crap aimed at satirizing progressive politics. I guess a terminal malcontent has to find some niche occupation after real life.

        I guess the two ‘likes’ are just terminal dimwits who aren’t bright enough to have clocked your Israel front leanings and anti-Corbyn rhetoric.

        As to Covid-19 – you obviously haven’t a clue – you’re trying to operate above your intelligence and capabilities – probably a general mark of a failed career. If you want to prove me wrong, and convincingly support the establishment narrative that you espouse – come back with counters to my specific analysis, not a Wolfie satire aimed at taking the piss out of Skwawkbox readers.

      3. ”You won’t catch me wearing a twatting mask, though.”

        Wow, but you’re hard.

        What next? Gonna grab yer rifle and get down to your local town hall to make it clear as day to those sumbitch lawmakers that it’s your birthright not to be told to wear one; and anyone who does wear one is a goddamn pussy; and if you don’t get back your saloon or your drive-in theatre back, then yousa gon’ start shootin’ the commie bastards?


    2. After the Black Death Plague of the Middle Ages the serfs and peasants demanded more money for their services, which was only fair since 25.0% of the population of all ages had perished from the plague. However, this modern day “ plague “ works in reverse since the percentage of deaths, mainly concentrated in old people, is now +/-0.25% and the modern day version of the serfs and peasants are having their wages plus conditions cut. History is not quite repeating itself!

      1. The ignorant but obsessed ,Brianbotou, yet another paid troll, tasked with filing social media with the bogus ‘don’t worry about going back to work, and generating new surplus value for the bosses, because, apart from a few old geriatrics, coronavirus simply isn’t a problem’ fake news . This on the day coronavirus infection is accelerating globally at an exponential rate – and across the UK new cluster outbreaks are happening at an increasing rate (the local meat processing plant down the road from me, included !) – the harbingers of the inevitable ‘second wave’ of infections . Despite Brianbotou’s cavalier dismissal, coronavirus has already killed over 60,000 UK citizens, and came close in the first wave of overwhelming our NHS. Shills like brianbotou, RH, and other paid coronavirus deniers posting here ae the lowest form of life.

      2. Yes, that’s right, we’re all paid. No room for diversity of opinion with you, is there? No nuance, no subtlety, no learning or personal growth. Just blinkered ignorance and the dogma of the cretin.. I can’t think of a worse champion for the working classes.

      3. After Ha’penny’s last post (no irony initially intended), I am moving towards the view that he is just a bit dim as he enlists establishment-induced hysteria to his inexplicableand confused ’cause’.

        He obviously can’t get a grasp of basic information – as is found in :

        … as he wets his nappy over a fading infection – which will probably occasionally create minor further outbreaks – as they do – without damage beyond the normal seasonal pattern.

      4. ”Yes, that’s right, we’re all paid.”

        Well at least you’re not spouting pro-government bullshit voluntarily, eh? I mean, that’d just make you three look bigger cunts than you actually are.

        Are you personally putting yourself at risk of catching the bug, tim? Are you telling family members – whether physically capable or not – to get out and risk their health & wellbeing, seeing as you’re all for ‘encouraging’ everyone else to, for the good of the country (i.e. the fat cats & corporates)?

        I thought not.

        I suppose you’re in support of Covid19-related UC sanctions being introduced, are you? Despite there being hundreds of thousands less jobs to apply for because of the bug, by calling for people to get into work claiming it’s safe to do so and it’s all a government ruse, you’re effectively saying you’d happily see people who have had no choice but to be put onto UC sanctioned and left in abject penury unless they’re submit themselves into jeopardising their health in order to make your paymasters a few nicker more while they themselves receive very little in the way of reward?

        And you have the brass bollocks to call others out on their socialism and what Corbyn stands for?

      5. Are you personally putting yourself at risk of catching the bug, tim? Are you telling family members – whether physically capable or not – to get out and risk their health & wellbeing, seeing as you’re all for ‘encouraging’ everyone else to, for the good of the country (i.e. the fat cats & corporates)?

        First question: answer, probably. My cleaning job has remained open throughout, miraculously, and has saved my sanity. You won’t catch me wearing a twatting mask, though.

        Second question: why would I go round telling them what to do? It may be unfashionable these days but I credit them with a bit of critical thinking. Admittedly most of my family don’t have any, but that’s their call. I’d rather not live in a society that has lost its pubs, cinemas, theatres, gig venues, social fabric, etc, but if you’re happy to pay that price, I reserve the right to take the piss.

        But who wants to live in a germ-free graveyard?

    3. RH, Tower Hamlets was planning this move before the quarantine measures started. Tower Hamlets only relented because due to Covid-19, it needed its front line workers to carry on working during the pandemic. Hence, the “fired and re-hired” proposal isn’t as a result of Covid-19 at all, but rather a problem with how Tower Hamlets administer its budget. That incidentally, it has been cut drastically by central government.

      1. Indeed, Maria – I bow to your knowledge about the timing. But, my point still stands – the Covid-19 hysteria provides the cover for all sorts of moves like this. Just watch.

        Incidentally – I don’t think any LA can realistically balance its budget in any real sense after years of Tory depredation.

  3. Hmm, first you accuse a newcomer to the site, hereandnow, of being “…….troll…”, then it’s RH “…Troll…” and now it’s my turn of wait for it a “ troll”.

    Well, I can see you are having a bad hair or is it a bad penny day. I suggest you wipe the phlegm from your screen, switch it off, make yourself a cup of tea and have a lie down.

    You will feel much better instead of ranting, raving and working your self into a lather believing any old tosh that the Zionist/ Anglo controlled MSM plus their bought and paid for “ experts” pump out to be swallowed by the naive and gullible.
    As the old hippies used to say, chill out man🥳

    1. I seem to recall (but mat be wrong) that Ha’penny claimed to have worked in Economic Development for a local authority (of course – everyone else was corrupt).

      The sentence : “Despite Brianbotou’s cavalier dismissal, coronavirus has already killed over 60,000 UK citizens” does make me fear for the consequences for that local authority of someone not being able to use simple maths and numerical analysis, let alone think, in that role!

      I’d point out the obvious errors – but it would be a waste of time.

  4. The ‘Gig Economy Recipe’ for cheap labour revolves around self employment; but also the casualisation of labour; zero hours contracts; term-time only contracts in education; non-union clauses (among others). Tony Blair’s gov’t had time enough to prevent such mal-practices in the labour market, but chose not to Even the European Union took some action to improve terms & conditions of employment for EU workers, but the son of Thatcher preferred the ‘globalist’ cheap labour option.

    1. Bliars lot promoted it. For a long time ZHCs were simply temporary jobs. No rights, no nothing. People complained, and labour made the regulations better for workers. For a while. Temp jobs became known as ZHCs and no one really cares this time…

      I’ve said it before. We were taught in history about the miners being abandoned whilst the ponies were rescued. What’s changed?

      1. … and i’ve just noticed the following pearl from Ha’penny :

        “… the Big Business interests that want the working class back at work, creating surplus value again”

        … the silly bugger hasn’t noticed that many of the lowest paid workers have not had a statutorily-funded break, but have continued to work throughout the Panicdemic. The art of government and ‘big business’ will to create a larger pool of lower-paid workers, using Covid-19 as the basis of re-engineering.

  5. Dearie me, the claque of paid Trolls working ceaselessly to get that toxic bogus Big Business message across on social media , ie, ‘get back to work to make us more surplus value, proles – there’s nothing to fear from coronavirus’, are all up and running at the moment – only varying their lies with endless attempts to make every topic about ‘zionism/Israel’ . Thus trying to draw in the more gullible Lefties to make online statements that will get them purged in the oncoming Big Labour Purge of the Left .

    They get very snippy and sensitive when their craven, paid troll, status is outed on here don’t they ! We are meant to believe that unpaid volunteer trolls could afford to be posting their drivel all day, every, day on Skwawkbox . Nope, not possible , the entire nest of constant trolls are just paid hacks, writing this toxic and diversionary garbage to a script. Treat these poisonous bozos with the contempt they deserve, comrades – and DON’T get drawn in to make comments online that will get you purged – unless you want to leave anyway that is .

    1. Have you wiped the phlegm from the screen yet? Go and have another cup of tea and lie down because you working yourself up into another hysterical ranting rage again. Chill out man🥳

      1. Isn’t it funny how those with private wealth can be so cavalier about preventing less well-off people from earning money to live?

  6. The spat between jpenny and the “three amigos” is not exactly the finest moment comments here has known.Give it a bloody rest all of you.

    1. John the philosophy of turning the other cheek is one to be admired but it becomes rather tiresome when you try to have a rational debate and the opposite number is unwilling or unable to comply. Alas, the patience of saints has not yet penetrated the SB site!!!

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