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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 April 2019

Newham bin workers ballot for strikes over council's 21,000 pay robbery

Bin workers on strike in Birmingham

Bin workers on strike in Birmingham   (Click to enlarge)

Refuse workers employed by Newham Council in east London could have lost more than 20,000 each in the last decade in a dispute over grading.

The Labour council has failed to progress them through the grading structure which should, as agreed, have commenced 12 years ago in 2007-08. Unite calculates the potential loss of pay amounts to 1,760 a year.

General union Unite will ballot the 45 workers for strike action. The ballot begins on 23 April and closes on 21 May.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: "Newham council has repeatedly failed to live up to the agreement it signed more than a decade ago for progression on the national pay scales if the refuse workers had satisfactory appraisals.

"It is a stain on this council's reputation that it has ducked and dived in avoiding honouring this agreement - the grievance complaint that Unite lodged on this issue was not heard until June 2018.

"The council bosses have admitted that they failed to implement the scheme. But, curiously, they have not been able to say why they agreed to it in the first place when they had no intention of implementing it.

Back pay

"We estimate that, depending on individual circumstances, refuse workers could have lost up to 21,000 in back pay - a considerable sum for this relatively low-paid group of workers who are out in all weathers.

"This is an issue of basic trust, and if the employer is allowed to get away with not implementing the agreement, then it will be emboldened to do so again and again - eventually affecting every council employee adversely.

"Time after time, we have asked the council to implement the scheme, but it has continuously declined to. And that's why we're holding this strike ballot, to show that employers can't ride roughshod over freely entered into agreements to the detriment to our members."

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 17 April 2019:


What we think

Tories facing electoral meltdown - but only a socialist alternative to austerity can finish them off


News

100 billion for bosses - cuts for us.

Assange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

Labour looks to Bank of England to stall house prices

No-fault evictions ban, but cuts leave tenants vulnerable

Cuts drive council tax debt

Labour needs socialist policies to solve "climate emergency"


Minimum wage

20 years of the minimum wage: Fight for a real living wage for every worker


Workplace news

Newham bin workers ballot for strikes

Arriva Rail North cleaners fight bosses' punitive pay arrears

School staff demand action on pay and testing at NEU conference

Deliveroo workers protest at firm's Nottingham roadshow

PCS union: vital local strikes and a national pay ballot - vote for a fighting leadership

Unison union: right wing tries to block campaigning - elect a socialist leadership


International socialist news and analysis

Sudan: No to rule of the generals!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour councils must act now to save our schools!

Council elections - an opportunity to present a socialist alternative to cuts

Activists rally in fight for more council housing and against high rents

Alternative housing awards

'Reforms' hollow out the NUS

Youth climate strikes: Democratic organisation and socialist policies needed


Opinion

Engels' classic essential for understanding socialist ideas old and 'new'

Real life on Universal Credit: "As soon as I get billed for my electric, I'm finished"

The Socialist Inbox


 

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