UNISON staff to strike after Tower Hamlets Council contract talks collapse  

Tuesday 30 June 2020
For immediate release

UNISON staff to strike after Tower Hamlets Council contract talks collapse   

Thousands of Tower Hamlets Council staff are to strike next month after managers vowed to push ahead with a plan to sack and re-employ staff on inferior contracts , says UNISON today (Tuesday). 

Strikes opposing the council’s Tower Rewards Package, which could see 4,000 workers potentially worse off as a result of plans which include cuts to travel allowances and out of hours payments, will take place on Friday 3, Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 July.   

The very same staff who have worked tirelessly throughout this crisis now face fears over job security, with severance pay also being slashed, says UNISON.   

UNISON says the changes will have a disproportionate effect on Black and women workers, and is critical of the local authority’s failure to undertake a thorough equality impact assessment of its plans. 
Staff originally voted overwhelmingly to strike in late March and early April but workers suspended the action as the Covid-19 pandemic hit so they could provide vital public services through the peak of the crisis.    
Despite hopes of avoiding strike action, the council’s determination to force through its plans have left staff with no option but to do all they can to protect their livelihoods, says UNISON.   

Staff will observe social distancing rules while demonstrating outside the main council sites still operating. Those working from home will withdraw their labour.     

Tower Hamlets UNISON assistant branch secretary Kerie Anne said: “It’s shocking that a Labour council would resort to sacking and re-engaging staff in order to force through unpopular and unfair contract changes.     

“It beggars belief that workers who’ve put their health on the line to deliver critical services throughout the pandemic are being treated in this way.”   

Tower Hamlets UNISON branch secretary John Mcloughlin said“Tower Rewards is  a fundamentally flawed programme that increases the pay of the top earners while penalising the bulk of the workforce.    

“The council needs to listen to staff concerns and reverse its decision.”   

 Notes to editors:   
– Strike demonstrations will take place outside:   

·         Town Hall, Mulberry Place  

·         Albert Jacobs House – Roman  Road  

·         John Onslow House – Gladstone  Place  

·         Whitechapel Idea store – Whitechapel  High  Street  

·         Chrisp Street Idea store – East India Dock  Road   

– Publicity leaflet can be found here 

– 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 the public, private and voluntary sectors.    


Media contacts:    

Emma Davey  M: 07432 733187 E: e.davey@unison.co.uk