Tower Hamlets Council staff announce further strike dates

Tuesday 14 July 2020

For immediate release 

Tower Hamlets Council staff announce further strike dates

Care workers, health inspectors and social workers will be among Tower Hamlets Council staff going on strike from tomorrow (Wednesday) until Friday 17 July over the council’s decision to sack and reemploy them on inferior contracts, says UNISON.

This follows a three-day strike last week which involved over a thousand people attending virtual rallies to oppose the council’s controversial Tower Rewards project.

Staff will lose out on pay and vital allowances  including for their essential travel – as a result of the scheme, according to UNISON.

Many have been working throughout the pandemic delivering vital services, but local support for the employees has been ignored by Tower Hamlets Council. 

Instead, councillors have pushed ahead with cost-cutting plans and sacked and rehired two-thirds of its 4,000 workforce says UNISON.

Staff on the lowest salaries will be among those hardest hit by the council changes, including care workers on the Covid front line.

UNISON convenor and social care worker Amina Patel said: “Council managers are wrong to claim no one will be worse off and that the Tower Rewards scheme doesn’t increase inequality. They’ve turned national clapping into local slapping, with the lowest paid bearing the brunt.  

“As a modestly paid BAME woman, I’ll be hit hard by the change. My pay won’t increase and my travel allowance will be cut by £596 a year. Money is being taken right out of my pocket which is why I’ll be joining the strike.”

UNISON assistant branch secretary Kerie Anne said: “Mayor John Biggs and the chief executive have pulled out all the stops to try and downplay the effect of the strike and the level of opposition to Tower Rewards, but they’ve failed miserably. The local community can see just how shabbily staff are being treated.

“It beggars belief that a council would treat key workers in such an appalling way. But there’s still time for councillors to do the right thing and change direction. This way workers can be rewarded properly and not punished for the work they do.”  

Notes to editors: 

 For background to the dispute click here and click here for a report of the first three days of strike action from 5-7 July.

– Photographs are available on request. 

– Socially distanced pickets will take place outside Albert Jacobs House, John Onslow House, Mile End Hospital, Mulberry Place, Poplar Idea Store, Silvocea Way Transport and Refuse Hub, Tower Hamlets Car Pound (Commercial Rd) and Whitechapel Idea Store.

– 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, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts: 

Emma Davey M: 074327 33187 E: