Solidarity with Tower Hamlets workers!

Tower Hamlets Council – which is a Labour run authority – is planning to ‘sack and re-engage’ its entire workforce in order to force them to accept worse terms and conditions.

‘Sack and re-engage’ is what Asda did to its workforce before Christmas. British Airways is doing it to its worekrs now. It is shocking to see a Labour run council deploy the same tactic.

The new plan, called Tower Rewards, includes:

– Out of hours pay is reduced
– Severance pay has been slashed
– Reduces the Flexi scheme
– Worsens pay for some grades
– Staff being asked to work anywhere in the borough with little notice whilst travel allowances are being cut.

There is an online rally being organised by Tower Hamlets UNISON on Friday 3 July at 11am – register online here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/friday-3rd-monday-6th-tower-rewards-strike-virtual-picket-and-rally-tickets-110797373928
We will stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tower Hamlets UNISON and other unions resisting this awful attack on their working conditions.

Black Lives Matter – Justice for George Floyd!

By Jeremy Drinkall, schools convenor

For over a week now US cities have been convulsed by an unprecedented wave of militant fightback precipitated by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police officer Derek Chauvin.

For almost nine minutes Floyd, a black man, was held down by Chauvin’s knee on his neck in front of cameras while Floyd begged for his life. Even after he lay limp and unresponsive, Chauvin continued his torture of Floyd for several minutes more, even though bystanders filmed the murder and begged the cops to get up and let him breathe. George Floyd died and will never breathe again.

Continue reading

Draft motion: The labour movement and the fight against state violence and racism

From Ruth Cashman, Joint Branch Secretary

Many of you will remember that following a racist mass stopping operation at Brixton Tube we started working with the local RMT branch on a campaign around the police. Unfortunately, it petered out as other priorities took over but the reps Stephen and Phil were supportive and have been active in the latest BLM protests. Given the historical moment, it would be good to contact local unions to start that work again. The branch has a great history of campaigning around police violence, racism and surveillance.  Below, is a starting discussion document. I wanted to put it as a motion to the Branch Meeting, but I think we probably don’t have enough time to discuss in full so will but to next BC catch up.

I’d appreciate feedback and suggestions on the draft motion below

Continue reading

Return to work? Read on…

As many of you will know the government is planning on lifting some of the restrictions next week and having primary schools reopen on 1 June.

The trade unions are very concerned by these proposals. The UK still has one of the highest death rates in the world and the infection rate is still very high.

If there is a ‘return to work’ in your workplace then you need to see the risk assessments done by your employer. They should cover all of the duties you will be expected to perform and how they can be made as safe as possible.

Lambeth Council will not be bringing people back to work without consultations with the unions first.

If you have an underlying health condition or live with someone who does then you should still be at home.

UNISON is very concerned about the announcement that the furlough money will be reduced at a time when the pandemic is still very much with us.

Many of our members work in social care and we know hoe dangerous that is and how many elderly people are dying in care homes. This is advice for staff in those workplaces on PPE PPE advice for social care workers

For other members please read this PPE general advice.

If you have any concerns that your workplace is not safe then you are entitled under your legal rights to refuse to attend a workplace. You have this right under Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Please visit this website to read more and contact us if you have any questions.

BAME members

The shocking announcement today that BAME people are four times more likely to die of COVID-19 should be a wakeup call for this government and our bosses. BAME people make up a lot of health and social care workers, they are on the front line every day saving lives but the cost is too high.

If you are a BAME member of UNISON then we would like to hear from you about your experiences at work during the lock down. Please email shannah@lambeth.gov.uk

UNISON are raising these issues with employers specifically, if you are concerned about your workplace please contact us.

Pay campaign for local government

The trade unions put in a claim for 10% pay increase and an extra days holiday a year for local government. This was rejected by the employers who came back with a 275% pay increase and an increase on the basic green book leave entitlement from 21 to 22 days but with no corresponding increase in the long service leave so effectively it meant bringing forward one of the days previously awarded at five years’ service. The unions are campaigning against this and demanding more for wages and on holiday as our members have not had a pay rise above inflation for over a decade now.

International Workers Memorial Day

Thanks to everyone who sent in pictures, they are on the website https://lambeth-unison.org/2020/05/02/international-workers-memorial-day/

Stay safe everyone and please get in touch if any issues arise

Protests at Olive Morris House over demolition

Lambeth Council have decided to start the demolition of Olive Morris House during the pandemic.

Many people are concerned that this isn’t he time to to be moving ahead with a demolition.

The petition to stop it has over 1,000 signatures – report on the recent protest is in Brixton Buzz http://www.brixtonbuzz.com/2020/04/in-photos-a-socially-distanced-protest-against-the-demolition-of-olive-morris-house-during-the-coronavirus-crisis-fri-24th-april-2020/

Press release: Hospital laundry workers denied full pay for isolation could be putting patients at risk

Hospital laundry workers denied full pay for isolation could be putting patients at risk

  • Hospital laundry workers denied proper sick pay in south London
  • Patients could be at risk, as sick workers incentivised to work when ill, say trade unionists
  • Campaign for full sick pay endorsed by local MP

Campaigners and MPs have expressed alarm as it emerged that hospital laundry workers in south London were not being given proper sick pay or isolation pay.

Workers at Elis Laundry in Brixton, South London, do not get full pay if they have to self-isolate, meaning that workers are incentivised to come into work even if they are sick or living with vulnerable people. The outsourced NHS service provides laundry to hospitals across south London.

Union representatives have sounded the alarm about the situation. The Statutory Sick Pay paid to workers is not enough to live on, and will not even cover most workers’ rent. The lack of full sick pay could be putting patients at risk, they say.

Lambeth UNISON have launched a campaign to demand full sick and isolation pay for workers at Elis Laundry. Their petition is here.

Lambeth UNISON Branch Secretary Ruth Cashman said:

“Without proper sick pay, workers face a choice between going to work or not being able to eat or pay the rent.  It is a vital that all workers in the workplace, whether directly-employed or outsourced and regardless of contractual status, are guaranteed full pay from day one of any self-isolation or sickness absence. They also need personal protective equipment. Without these measures, the spread of the Covid-19 will be quicker and therefore far more deadly.”

Bell Ribeiro Addy, MP for Streatham, said:

“I stand with Elis Laundry staff, who are calling for full sick pay and proper hygiene breaks. By not offering measures like these, employers are putting both workers and the general public at greater risk of Covid-19.”

Stuart Jordan, an NHS nurse based in East London, said:

“If a laundry worker has no rights to sick and isolation pay then that is a problem for everyone working and being cared for in the NHS. If these workers don’t have financial security to comply with public health advice then that puts us all at risk. Every day bosses refuse to act on this issue increases the risks to all of us.”

 

ENDS

NOTES

1. For more information, please email rcashman@lambeth.gov.uk or ring Ruth on +44 7756 786309

2. Lambeth UNISON is a local government branch of the public sector union.

3. Workers and trade unionists are available for broadcast interviews