Cost-cutting by Hackney council, which is planning a 50 per cent pay cut for drivers that transport disabled children to school and play clubs, has prompted a 24-hour strike on Thursday (2 April).
The drivers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will strike from 00.01 on Thursday in protest against the cuts which could see salaries slashed from £24,000 a year to £12,000. The vote in favour of strike action was 100 per cent. A further stoppage is scheduled for 16 April.
Another separate strike involving Unite passenger transport members in Croydon, who also transfer disabled children, has been called on 16 April at Impact, the private company which runs passenger transport services for the council.
Impact is refusing to negotiate a pay claim made by Unite which proposes that the company pay all its workers, at least, the London ‘living wage’ which is currently £9.15-an-hour. The vote was 92 per cent in favour of strike action.
The disputes come against a backdrop of the launch a Fair Deal For Local Government campaign by Unite’s London and Eastern region which has almost 300,000 members. The campaign is aimed against privatisation and austerity in local government.
The campaign is a set of proposals that Unite is putting to councils in the region. It is a procurement strategy to ensure that quality services are maintained and that there is no ‘race to the bottom’ for pay and conditions post any transfer.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Our overall campaign calls for a Fair Deal For Local Government and these two separate strikes are vivid, living, breathing examples of why our campaign is so important.
“We regret that disabled children will be inconvenienced by Thursday’s strike, but if we don’t draw a line in the sand now, future cuts will be even worse. Councils should not be jumping to the Tories’ tune of privatisation and austerity – the public good should always come first.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite regional officer Onay Kasab on 07771 818637 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940.
The main points of Fair Deal For Local Government campaign are:
- If services are performing well, leave them in house
- If they are not performing well, look at ways of putting it right in house
- When contracting out services, over 50 per cent of the consideration should be about quality rather than cost
- Fair employment rights for transferred staff – no zero hours contracts, pay the ‘living wage’, no downward pay and conditions harmonisation
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.