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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 July 2020

Tower Hamlets council workers strike against wholesale attack on terms and conditions

Tower Hamlets Labour council is using the worst methods of private sector bosses to impose detrimental changes, photo Hugo Pierre

Tower Hamlets Labour council is using the worst methods of private sector bosses to impose detrimental changes, photo Hugo Pierre   (Click to enlarge)

Council workers across all services in Tower Hamlets, east London, have been on strike against attacks on their terms and conditions.

The long-running dispute, known as 'Tower Rewards', came to a head with members of public service union Unison downing tools on Friday 3, Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 July. Unison has announced further strikes from Wednesday 15 to Friday 17 July.

Unison hoped to avoid industrial action by involving the conciliation service Acas. But all hope was dashed when council bosses announced they were determined to sack 4,000 staff on 6 July, and reengage them on the controversial new contract, no matter what.

It is an outrage that a Labour council is using the worst methods of private sector bosses to impose detrimental changes. One picket told the Socialist: "For the last few months, the council have been calling us 'key workers' and 'heroes'. But now we're being sacked and reemployed on worse pay and conditions - and being told we're letting down the community by going on strike."

The council has been unwilling to defer the change to allow further talks to take place, and more distance to be put between the peak of the pandemic and any potential confrontation. This left staff with no choice but to strike.

Bin workers, mainly in general union Unite, refused to cross picket lines in solidarity. They have recently been on strike themselves against their former employer, Veolia, before being brought back in-house.

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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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 8 July 2020:


Workplace news

Fantastic virtual NSSN conference: "Fight for our lives and livelihoods''

Homerton hospital workers deserve equal pay and conditions

Jobcentre reopening: only union struggle will put safety first

Southampton UCU: election victory for combative rank and file

Tower Hamlets council workers strike against wholesale attack on terms and conditions

Nottingham unions fight council job cuts


News

Fight for every job, fight for socialism

Tory NHS betrayal

Young people have no choice but to fight the system

Leicester: End the scandal of sweatshop labour

Covid pandemic and Northern Ireland - workers must resist the bosses' offensive

1,600 less benefits if your job goes - while super-rich splash cash

Testing: Tories' 5bn gift to private sector

Johnson blames care workers for deaths

3bn green pledge: not enough for climate or jobs

Poverty rises again - especially for BAME workers

Them and us


No going back

No going back: Nationalise social care!


Campaigns

The best place to start - join the Socialist Party

Trans rights protests oppose Tory backsliding

Black Lives Matter - the fight is not over


International news

Hong Kong: The fight for democratic rights

Bangladesh: Stop closure and privatisation of Jute Mills


Readers' opinion

TV: The school that tried to end racism

Books that inspired me: The Fire Next Time

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

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