Unison call another strike

Housing services will be severely affected.

Unison claim £4,000 London weighting

Unison members in local government are taking selective industrial action for up to four weeks, across London, commencing on 14 July.

Unison lodged a claim for £4,000 London weighting for all council staff in July 2001 to alleviate the excessive cost of living and working in the capital.

The strike action will take place in 21 of London's 32 Boroughs.

The strike action will hit a variety of services with the aim of persuading council leaders to make a serious offer to the workforce. The action is timed to coincide with the meeting between the employers and Unison at the Greater London Provincial Council on 16 July.

Julia Coleman, Unison regional head of local government and trade union side secretary, said:"Council leaders have brought this action upon themselves. The serious escalation of this dispute has been caused by the contempt shown to local council workers across London. With other public sector workers receiving increased London weighting in the fire service, in teaching and in the NHS, it is about time council leaders made a serious offer to UNISON's members.

"The only offer we have had had to be squeezed out of the councils following strike action earlier this year, however the £3.86 a week tabled, for a small part of the workforce, hardly constituted a serious offer.

"By stepping up the campaign, UNISON is showing how serious it is about this dispute. Council leaders will have a lot of explaining to do to their residents, if they do not resolve it in the very near future."

David Eggmore, chair of UNISON's London local government committee, added:
"UNISON has held back from lengthy industrial action until now. UNISON knows how much the public relies on the services provided by our members. However, it gets to a point, when the employers are being intransigent, that we have to make a stand.
"If the employers were relying on the claim for £4,000 London weighting to fade away it shows how out of touch they are with their workforce. UNISON's members are very determined to win their campaign for decent London weighting. All they ask is for something similar to that paid in other parts of the public sector."

Strike action will take place in the following boroughs:
Barnet, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith, Haringey, Havering, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Kingston, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Wandsworth.

Unison Web site


Council will provide emergency service

Unison has voted for a month-long, all-out strike in Hammersmith & Fulham's housing benefits, homelessness and main switchboard services. The strike is part of Unison's London-wide action over pay.

The housing office in Glenthorne Road will be severely affected by the proposed action as Unison has refused the usual exemptions for staff providing 'life and limb' services. In these circumstances, the council will be able to provide a skeleton, emergency service only.

Emergency arrangements 14 July 2003 - 8 August 2003 are as follows:

An automated answering system will run on the main switchboard to minimise the number of calls needing to be dealt with by remaining staff not on strike. A comprehensive list of all the council's main direct dial numbers is being sent to every home next week via the borough magazine HFM.

Housing benefits
A limited service will be available at the housing centre in Glenthorne Road, dealing with emergency enquiries only. A reduced telephone service will also operate on 020 8753 1396.

An emergency-only service will also run from the housing centre. We are asking all agencies referring homeless families to us to restrict their enquiries to emergencies only. This will enable us to provide help to those who really do have no alternative.

The numbers for the housing needs service are 020 8753 4143 and 4144.

Managing Director, Geoff Alltimes, says: "Unison has got it wrong in targeting Hammersmith & Fulham. We already have some of the best terms and conditions in London and a deserved reputation as one of the best employers in the country. Staff already benefit from a very competitive salary, higher than many other boroughs in London. If we were to meet the full costs of the Unison claim, it would add £100 a year to band D council tax bills. It is just not possible.

"We also believe that targeting services used by some of our least well-off and vulnerable people is unacceptable. A month-long strike in these services is likely to have a profoundly damaging effect on individual people, including vulnerable children."

The dispute is about a claim for more money for council staff working in London but inner London weighting allowance was incorporated into basic salary, with the consent of the unions in April 2000. Staff in Hammersmith & Fulham already enjoy:

· a minimum earnings guarantee (no full-time member of staff earns below £7.76 an hour)

· generous leave and flexible working arrangements

· one of the best pension schemes in the country.

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