UNISON suspends strike action in light of Coronavirus

Tower Hamlets UNISON has suspended strike action planned tomorrow (24th March) in light of the public health emergency caused by the Coronavirus, and urges Tower Hamlets council to meet half way to end the dispute.

The dispute is over council plans to sack and offer re-engagement on a disputed new contract called ‘Tower Rewards’ to nearly 4000 council staff on 13 April  –  right in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. These are the very staff that the Council is relying on to step up to support residents during the unprecedented public health crisis.

UNISON has written to the Mayor John Biggs and Chief Executive, Will Tuckley, urging them to delay imposing the contract on 13 April so all parties can instead put their full energy into constructive working together to provide maximum possible support for staff and the community.

UNISON Tower Hamlets Branch Secretary, John Mcloughlin said: “UNISON has called on the Mayor to halt imposition of the contract and believe it would send a powerful message to staff that the Council recognises the vital role they will be asked to play over coming months and does not want to impose contracts without agreement at this time.

“Tower Rewards can be put on hold and discussed again when we have got through the Covid-19 crisis, when priorities may well look different.”

Regional Organiser Fran Allton said: “We’re still awaiting a response from the Council and hope that they recognise it’s in the borough’s best interests for the dispute to be paused; so that we can work together to get through the current health crisis”