Thomas Bridge 02 April 2015

Boroughs face staff strike spree as union ‘draws line in sand’

A spate of strikes is due to sweep through London boroughs in coming days as staff walk out over pay and privatisation fears.

Hackney, Bromley and Croydon councils will all face staff protests this week, with trade union Unite claiming it is now ‘drawing a line in the sand’ against local government austerity.

Employees who transport disabled children to school and play clubs at Hackney Council will today stage 24 hours of strike action over fears of a potential 50% cuts to pay.

Unite is planning a further service stoppage on 16 April against the measures, which it claims could see salaries fall from £24,000 to £12,000.

However Hackney said it was ‘no longer able to justify’ the £75,000 yearly cost of guaranteed overtime for these drivers, with changes to working hours reflected in a pay reduction of up to 20%. The borough has now offered employees either voluntary redundancy or a package of lump sums and pay protection for those who remain.

A council spokesman said the service provided by Transport Solutions would ‘not be affected’ by the changes.

A separate strike has been called on 16 April at Croydon Council, similarly involving Unite members who transfer disabled children. The trade union claims Impact – the private company which runs passenger transport services for the town hall – is refusing to pay workers the living wage of £9.15 an hour.

Croydon LBC said it would work to ensure any strikes cause ‘minimal disruption’ while negotiating ‘with our contractor to put a variety of contingency arrangements in place’.

Impact Group was unavailable to be reached for comment.

The strikes came as Unite members at Bromley Council announced they would be walking out for two days from 7 April over ‘mass privatisation’ of services, cuts to pay and conditions and withdrawal of facility time for the union branch secretary.

Action will involve employees at libraries, adult services and parks at separate points throughout the 48 hours.

A council spokesperson said the authority was facing ‘unpalatable’ saving demands of £50m over the next four years and would ‘continue to examine every single one our services and cost pressures to find the most effective and efficient ways of delivering’. Bromley added that there had been no pay cuts for members or staff.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: ‘Unite is drawing a line in the sand against privatisation and austerity in local government. Council services should be for the public good – and not as a cash cow for the private companies benefiting from lucrative outsourcing contracts.’

He added that the strikes were ‘vivid, living, breathing examples’ of why the trade union’s campaign against local government austerity ‘is so important’.

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Travel Information Data Technician

Essex County Council
Up to £25581 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to work across all aspects of the Integrated Passenger Transport Unit (IPTU). Working with a passionate and dedicated England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager

Essex County Council
£57621 - £61410 per annum
Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager Permanent, Full Time £57,621 to £61,410 per annum Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Accountant

Telford & Wrekin Council
£39,571 - £42,614
Are you a qualified Accountant looking to take the next step in your career? Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Family Assessment Worker

Telford & Wrekin Council
£25,419 to £27,514
We have a great opportunity for a full time Family Assessment Worker in the Parenting Assessment Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£23,023 - £24,920
The post holder will tackle environmental crimes and unlawful parking. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.