Forty-five binmen in Newham in London’s East End are balloting for strike action over the failure of the Labour council to progress them through a grading structure agreed twelve years ago but never implemented, resulting in workers getting ripped off by as much as £20,000 apiece.
Meanwhile, 75 housing repair workers in the same borough are also balloting for strike action over a host of grievances, notably the council’s attempt to impose a pay cut of 20 percent.
And whilst the binmen and the repair workers are balloting, three gas managers in the repair department decided to strike on 9 May over the axing of a call-out payment without consultation in December. These payments are worth about £550 a month, constituting a sizeable chunk of their wages.
Just as happened with the binmen in Birmingham, these high-handed attacks on workers’ pay are being conducted under a solidly Labour council. All 60 councillors are Labour.
What’s more, elections in May 2018 brought in a new Corbynite mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz, toppling loathed Labour grandee Sir Robin Wales, who had led the local party and council for 23 years.
One year into the New Jerusalem, however, workers have yet to see how the change in regime changes anything for them.