Tower Hamlets Unison picket line, Wednesday 15 July. Photo: Sybil Cock Tower Hamlets Unison picket line, Wednesday 15 July. Photo: Sybil Cock

If Tower Hamlets council get away with slashing their workers’ pay and conditions, councils across the country could follow suit, argues Chris Nineham

Tower Hamlets Unison members in the council have now entered their second phase of strikes against the termination and rewriting of their contracts. Amongst the key changes is a sharp cut in severance pay. 

It is an utter disgrace that a Labour council should attack key workers in this way. It is particularly insulting to be attacked at a time when some workers have been under so much stress and danger at work under the conditions of coronavirus. John Biggs the Mayor of Tower Hamlets has shown public support for key workers but is in practice kicking them in the teeth. 

As one of the strikers says in the interview below, the cut in severance pay suggests there are likely to be redundancies to come.

Rather than attacking the workers, any self-respecting Labour Council should be 100% focussed on forcing the government to fund Councils properly, to roll back the years of cutbacks perpetrated in the name of austerity and to cover the massive cost of responding locally to coronavirus.

The outcome of this strike is vital – if Mayor Biggs and Tower Hamlets council get away with their attacks, the danger is that councils across the country will follow suit. 

You can do the following to support the strikers:

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Chris Nineham

Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.