Drivers and passenger assistants, who take disabled children to and from school in Hackney, have voted unanimously for strike action over the continuing failure of council bosses to recognise their efforts as key workers during the pandemic.

Crunch talks are due to be held between Unite and Hackney council bosses on Tuesday (7 December) over what the union says is the authority’s repeated brush offs  over attempts to gain recognition for its members’ role as key workers during the continuing Covid crisis. Dates for strike action will depend on the outcome of the forthcoming negotiations.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:Prior to next Tuesdays meeting Unite members have sent a clear message to the council, with their 100 per cent vote for strike action. 

They not only deserve to work in a safe environment, but to be properly rewarded. Unite is determined to advance the jobs, pay and conditions of its members. The council must recognise its failings and deal with them.”

The issues involving the 37 workers include the failure to pay the yearly lump sum payment of £381 in full and not increasing it; the failure to agree a Covid hazard payment; the failure to take the necessary health and safety measures, including the failure to provide proper toilet facilities. There is also no uniform provision and no relocation allowance for workers forced to move. 

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: Drawing up an indictment of Hackney councils employment practices would take a long time. The continual and insulting brush off from the management to union members has led to this unanimous vote for strike ballot. – they have had enough.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:      

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Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.