The Socialist

The Socialist 5 February 2020

6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

The Socialist issue 1072

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Newham council tax workers' pay victory

Newham Council offices, photo See_From_Here/CC

Newham Council offices, photo See_From_Here/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Unite the Union member

Unite members working as council tax benefit managers for Newham's Labour council in east London have won a pay and grading claim after giving the employer notice of strike action to commence.

The workers had seen their pay cut following the implementation of 'single status' - a national agreement signed by local government trade unions back in 1997 which allow local councils to attack pay and conditions. The Socialist Party correctly warned at the time that without funding from national government, local councils would pay for equal pay by simply robbing other sections of the council workforce, which is exactly what has happened since.

In Newham, the Unite branch is now using industrial action to win grading claims, rather than only relying on the job evaluation process.

Industrial action

This is now the third grading campaign success for the union branch, which is sending a clear message that they will not simply walk away when the employer refuses to act fairly. Instead, the members will be given the option of industrial action. The result has been a backdated increase in the grade along with a significant lump sum to settle the dispute.

This follows the strike victory at Hackney passenger services, which was also linked to single status. There, enhancements for working split shifts had previously been taken away as part of local implementation of the single status agreement.

Both campaigns show the way forward. It is possible to reverse previous losses but only by being prepared to take strike action. The task now for the unions is to raise the demand in council after council and to link these up as part of a co-ordinated national campaign.

In this issue


6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

Labour leadership contest and public ownership

Coronavirus exposes capitalism's weaknesses in healthcare and economy

Record dissatisfaction with democracy: capitalism's dead end

Refuges turn away 64% of women - set no-cuts budgets now!

Grenfell watch: Unions challenge 'mockery of justice'

Them & Us


Nationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system

Expensive, overcrowded and unreliable: Renationalise the railways!

Cancel the franchise, not our trains

Will the North get investment and transport infrastructure?

What we think

'Post-Brexit' era of crisis ahead

Workplace news

Huge victory for Bromley library workers after 241 days on indefinite strike!

14 more days of university strikes over pensions, pay and conditions

500 BBC journalists' jobs under threat

Newham council tax workers' pay victory

No to academisation of east London schools!

Ealing tax office workers strike against closure


Outrageous waiting times will put lives at risk

NHS: Save stroke beds in Coventry and Warwickshire


Syria: Assad regime consolidates power after brutal counterrevolution

Israel/Palestine: Trump 'peace plan' promises further conflict


Socialist Party calls anti-austerity protest on Budget Day

Sadiq Khan "out-Tories" himself to defend tech firms' tax bonanza

Socialist Sellers

Reading Labour council: Stop privatising our leisure services

The rich fund the Tories and Blairites, so help fund the working-class fightback

Support the working-class press in 2020

Defend and fight for warm, safe housing for Samira and everyone

Alternative Burns Night success

Readers' opinion

Liverpool council: "No more cuts" - Is Joe Anderson serious?

Socialist Inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 5 February 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

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5 February 2020