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.
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.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This site is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.