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Newham council challenged over £1.8 million cut to workers' pay
Scott Jones, East London Socialist Party
One Newham council worker could lose £6,000 and lose his home if the £1.8 million cut to workers' wages goes ahead. The all-Labour council, led by mayor Sir Robin Wales who earns £81,000 a year, had a whopping £161 million in general reserves in 2015-16.
Bin workers, some of the 1,300 affected, lobbied a full council meeting over the attack on 30 January. The lobby, initiated by Unite and Socialist Party members on Newham Trades Council, was joined by NHS campaigners lobbying the council over STPs, RMT transport union members, Momentum supporters and a suspended councillor!
To build support for the lobby Socialist Party members, on behalf of Newham Trades Council, leafletted workplaces and were invited into the canteen of one depot to leave leaflets. We spoke to workers who are understandably very angry about the cuts to their holiday, overtime and maternity pay. Their union Unite should be commended for taking a stand on the issue after GMB and Unison shamefully signed up to the deal.
Newham's 60 Labour councillors could vote against austerity, like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to - and propose a strategy to fight back, like the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
Newham residents and workers deserve councillors willing to oppose austerity. If those currently in are not willing, they should step aside for others who are. One Unite member told us he'd rather stand as a councillor for TUSC than Labour.
If the council refuses to listen, a serious campaign including strikes from Unite and the other council unions could defeat the onslaught.
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