Unison Demo today in Tower Hamlets

Unison was holding a demonstration against Tower Hamlets Rewards. I am not sure what it is about, just pictured the moment as I came across the demo on the way home from shopping in Whitechapel. The demo was walking down Cambridge Heath Road from Bethnal Green towards Whitechapel.

I can understand people have a grudge against changes to working conditions. I noticed the traffic held up was not pleased. Did not see any police around to keep the peace.

unison-demo-TH-rewards-17-8-20

Demo against Tower Hamlets Rewards

Find it amazing that Unison is accusing Mayor John Biggs, to behave like Margaret Thatcher, when former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair himself hailed Margaret Thatcher.

It is true that John Biggs only enforces government legislation without making much fuss about it. All policies about school closures for example are carried out because of government rules on school funding.

What room to exercise discretion does any council actually have?

The reasons for the dispute are listed here.

  • Slashing Severance Pay by at least 80% and capping pay outs at £25,000.
  • Reducing starting salaries for Scale 6 to SO2 by one increment instead of expanding grades upwards.
  • Substantially reduced Flexi scheme that allows a maximum of one day owed per month with a maximum of seven hours credit/debit and loss of credit if not used within a month.
  • Travel allowances cut by £596 with more restrictive ECUA criteria.
  • Night work supplements starting later (at 9pm, rather than 8pm).
  • Market supplements replaced and restricted by subsuming into future pay rises and only giving to new starters.
  • Review of Special Leave entitlements
  • Removing protections around disciplinary and grievance procedures by making them non-contractual. This will offer less protection to TUPE transfers and reduce consultation if changed in future.
  • No payment for travel time in new Mobility Clause and limited compensation for excess travel costs.

It is concerning that the payment for travel time is to be axed. That always had been a big problem for people on zero hours contracts or the self-employed for example when they had to travel from job to job.

The proportionality of travel costs in jobs must be a matter of consideration. Almost everybody complains about travel costs. Season tickets can make a big dent into ones income. It makes a difference though if you pay for twice daily travel to and from work and a regular income with that or if you are self-employed, like a carer and have to travel to several jobs per day and dont’ earn proportionally enough to make that worth it.

 

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