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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

fighting pay cuts in Greenwich housing

by New Worker correspondent

IN THE London Borough of Greenwich council 118 housing workers who face losing £10,000-a-year because of the scrapping of a long-standing productivity agreement are being balloted by Unite the Union for strike action.

The Labour controlled council wants to abandon a six-year old productivity scheme from next month regardless of the effect it will have on their own staff. Their union’s regional officer Onay Kasab said: “To lose this enormous amount is a massive blow to their incomes when the cost of living in London, one of the world’s most expensive cities, is sky-high. However, there always seems to be enough cash to pay expensive consultants a thumping £1.5 million on the repairs’ service over the last six years”.

He also warned: “If our members vote for strike action, this will seriously hinder and disrupt the council’s housing repair programme, but there is still time for the council to sit down with Unite to have a meaningful dialogue on this issue.”

North of the capital, in Tory controlled Hertfordshire, a similar fight is brewing over a possible £12,000 cut for key highway workers at depots in Kings Langley, South Mimms, Stevenage, Ware and Welwyn Garden City.

Workers repairing roads, replacing traffic bollards and damaged railings for the county council have overwhelmingly voted for industrial action in opposition to the move.

fifty-seven workers are employed by Ringway Infrastructure Services, and they are furious over new ‘sign or be sacked’ contracts which could see some workers losing up to £12,000 per year. Ninety-three per cent voted for strike action. The bosses want workers to move from their current contracts, which they retained when transferred from their previous employers, to inferior new terms and conditions. Management say that a failure to sign up to the new contracts could see workers being fired and then rehired on inferior terms.

Unite’s regional officer Richard Gates said: “This massive vote in favour of strike action is a very powerful message from our members over this unprecedented attack on their pay and employment conditions.

“We have now reached a fork in the road — either the hard-line bosses back down on this proposal, or Unite will prepare for strike action on behalf of our members”, adding that “this is a hardworking group of workers who do an essential job in maintaining the roads in Hertfordshire in all weathers and should not be treated in this despicable fashion”.