UNISON welcomes council decision to pause contract changes

UNISON has been representing staff employed by Tower Hamlets council over a dispute about proposed changes to staff contracts, called the Tower Rewards package.

The proposed changes, which were due to be implemented on 14 April, would mean significant detriment to staff, including severance pay being reduced by 80% and out of hour’s enhancements being cut.

In light of Covid-19, Tower Hamlets UNISON suspended planned strike action and urged the council to delay imposition. The council have now announced it would be pausing Tower Rewards until early Summer.

UNISON Greater London regional organiser Fran Allton said: “We’re pleased the council have listened to us and taken this step after initially refusing. This means all parties can instead focus their energies on providing support to local residents, at a time when it is needed most.

“Those most affected by Tower Rewards are front line staff, who during this scary and unprecedented time, are still working to provide care to Tower Hamlets residents. Essential services could not function without them and we will continue to make sure their voices are heard.

“We look forward to resuming discussions with the council, once it is appropriate to do so.”

Notes to editors: 
–  The council threatened to dismiss and re-engage all 3901 on new contracts
– Other issues include a clause introduced in contracts meaning staff could be asked to work anywhere in the borough with very little notice, and at the same time travel allowances being cut by £596
– Enhanced pay for ‘out of hours’ working used to start at 8pm but now start at 9pm, meaning staff working in the evenings (which impacts on their family and home life) will earn less for doing so
– Grievance and disciplinary procedures to be made non-contractual, making them easier to change and offering less protection in TUPE transfers
– Industrial action dates planned were 24 March, 1 and 2 April
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

Media contacts:

Emma Davey T: 02075356581 M: 07432733187 E: e.davey@unison.co.uk