Ahead of our next round of action, our General Secretary Dave Prentis, has written to Mayor John Biggs regarding Tower Rewards.
You can download a .pdf copy of the letter here: Dave Prentis Letter to Mayor John Biggs
The text of the letter, dated 5 August 2020, reads:
“I am making the unusual step of making direct contact with you regarding the Tower Rewards on-going dispute.
“I am saddened that a Labour Council has sacked and re-engaged staff on what for many are worse terms & conditions than before and I am shocked that it has also implemented these changes during these unprecedented times, especially when many of these key workers have risked their own health to provide essential services to the community during the pandemic. It cannot be right that on the one hand they are praised for the work they have done and on the other forced onto inferior contracts. The very fact that the Council has had to unilaterally impose the new contracts is a clear sign that staff do not accept the changes nor believe they provide ‘rewards’ for the majority of the workforce.
“Despite claims that UNISON has not been prepared to negotiate or consider options, I am confident that our branch and regional officials have operated in good faith and fully engaged at every stage of the negotiations. Striking is always the last option but it is the actions of Tower Hamlets council that has left our members with no choice but to strike in an effort to have their voices heard.
“I wanted to also take the opportunity to clarify that, as UNISON General Secretary, I fully support the democratic decisions our members in Tower Hamlets have taken.
“Our members’ mandate to take strike action remains steadfast as well as potentially re-balloting for further industrial action. I would reiterate that it is not too late to take steps to revolve this dispute and ensure the fair treatment of our members in line with Labour values. I am calling on you, as the Labour Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, to direct your senior managers to re-open meaningful talks on Tower Rewards with a view to reaching a negotiated settlement that will resolve the dispute and avoid further industrial action. Again, I would reiterate the branch has my full support in their current dispute.
“Dave Prentis, General Secretary”