Earlier this year we posted a blog on the situation faced by the workers of Lambeth Living:
Lambeth’s workers aren’t just seeing jobs disappear, they are also being forced to fight the cutting at their benefits, standards of living, and dignity. At a meeting of around 70 Lambeth Living workers yesterday, there was a unanimous vote in support of industrial action if Lambeth Living insisted on trying to carry on pushing through these measures:
- To cut their sick pay entitlement by half.
- To introduce new sick procedures which are far worse than the current arrangements.
- To introduce a new code of conduct, which includes a new dress code which would ban “unconventional” hair cuts, hair colours, most jewellery and clothing which isn’t co-ordinated.
After a delegation to the full council, and an amazing indicative strike ballot, the management has taken their proposal off of the table. A worker victory, which is quite wonderful given the all-out assault this month against the people of Britain and the idea that we as a society should take care of one another. Here is the text from a special UNISON bulletin celebrating ‘A Victory for Common Sense’:
Lambeth Living management have agreed with UNISON to take a constructive joint approach to reducing sickness absence through positive measures. In a helpful response, Chief Executive Neil Litherland said; “We will take up your offer of joint working and to give that the best chance of producing some results will set aside the proposals that have been subject to recent discussions whilst the work is being done.”
The Chief Executive has proposed a small working group be established and Assistant Chief Executive Terry Gallagher is now looking for dates in early May to start this work. This means that the proposals for changes to sick pay, the sickness procedure and the Code of Conduct have been set aside and are no longer on the table.
Commenting on this move from management, UNISON Branch Secretary, Jon Rogers said, “this welcome move is a victory for common sense. We are ready to work with management to improve the health, safety and welfare of employees in order to reduce sickness and therefore absence.”
UNISON welcomes the setting aside of proposals which included proposed reductions in sick pay. These proposals had led to a 94% vote in favour of industrial action in a consultative ballot. UNISON members and shop stewards were right to take a firm line to protect conditions of service and would be right to do so again in future.
Management have responded sensibly and appropriately by agreeing to constructive dialogue and UNISON will aim to engage with management colleagues to achieve positive outcomes for employees and the organisation.
We definitely have to keep up the fight for worker’s rights, pay, pension and their very jobs themselves, even as we ramp up the campaign to stop the multiple taxes and benefit cuts hitting this month (for a great piece on the bedroom tax’s impact in Brixton, check out the Brixton Blog, and we’ll be posting more about local efforts against the tax and other benefit cuts).