Newham housing workers vote for strike action

Some 50 housing repair workers at Newham Council are to strike for five days over pay and other issues.

The Unite members voted unanimously for strike action over a myriad of issues, including a plan to introduce a new pay structure which would have cut pay by 20%, pay deductions without speaking to the individuals concerned and a failure to tackle a bullying culture.

The carpenters, electricians and plumbers, based at the Bridge Road depot, Abbey Road, Stratford, London E15 3LX, will hold 24 hour stoppages on 2, 5, 23 and 27 August, as well as on 11 September. All the strikes will start at 00:01.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “It is starkly apparent that Newham Council is beleaguered by a very poor employment relations’ culture.

“The results are now coming home to roost after our members voted overwhelmingly to strike for five days later this summer – they are disgusted by the way they have been treated by this local authority.

“They were faced with a proposal, not eventually implemented, to introduce a new pay structure which would have axed pay by 20 per cent from 1 June this year; deductions from pay without speaking to staff first; and a culture of bullying.

“Our members have also been exposed to deadly asbestos during the course of their work. However, the council engaged a contractor who clearly had no idea how to deal with asbestos – its workmen were seen sweeping up dust.

“Unite has endeavoured over a long period to reach a fair settlement to this dispute, but, so far, we have been met with a blinkered and intransigent management.

“However, there is some time before the first strike on 2 August and Unite’s door remains open for a constructive dialogue with the council.”

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