Well done to Tower Hamlets UNISON for a fantastic result with 98% of members in schools and 89.6% in councils voting YES! 

UNISON members working for Tower Hamlets Council and in Community Schools are celebrating after smashing through the industrial action thresholds set by the Tory government. In a ballot that closed on Friday 21st February, members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action to stop imposition of a new contract that would worsen their terms and conditions.

The council wants to cut a range of allowances, slash severance, reduce the current flexi scheme and extend some grades backwards, to name but a few of the detrimental changes. The council are ironically calling the new contract ‘Tower Rewards’ but staff and unions have rebranded it the ‘Tower Robbery’.

After union members refused to agree to a collective agreement the council issued 12 weeks’ notice to all council staff meaning if staff don’t accept the new contract they will be sacked and out of a job on the 13 April 2020.

UNISON is now in talks with the NEU to coordinate strike action after teachers impacted by Tower Rewards also successfully voted to take industrial action.

Assistant Branch Secretary, Kerie Anne, said: “The council’s treatment of hardworking and dedicated staff providing public services has been shocking, as has the behaviour from senior managers through the consultation process.  Rather than wearing UNISON members down it has had the opposite effect and galvanised the workforce to fight back.

“Disappointingly senior managers have not spoken to UNISON branch officers for months, preferring to communicate instead by a series of formal letters threatening to take the union to court to stop its ballots and raising other frivolous complaints. Now that they are faced with a concrete threat of a strike that has the potential to shut this borough down, Tower Hamlets Council must abandon its high handed and aggressive methods and begin genuine talks with us to settle this dispute.”

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