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Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis addresses a virtual rally in support of Tower Hamlets Council workers.

Prentis speaks out on Tower Rewards

DAVE PRENTIS, General Secretary of Unison, has made it quite clear why he believes that Executive Mayor John Biggs – and the majority of the Labour Councillors – are wrong to impose the Tower Rewards contracts on the Council workforce. Here we print extracts from Dave Prentis’s speech to a virtual rally held in support of the striking Unison members. We hope that being able to see the key parts of the speech will assist the public debate.

“We have a Labour Council which is seeking to sack people and then to bring in worse terms and conditions. And I’m saying this as General Secretary of our Union: we cannot condone such bad behaviour in our society.  We’ve seen it before and we’ve always taken it on.  And for a Council to do this while we are still in the middle of a pandemic crisis and we don’t know what the future will bring I think is not only wrong it’s absolutely immoral.”

“Those conditions, they may be OK at the top of the hierarchy, but for most of our members – lower paid members, women members, black members, disabled members – they are the ones who lose out. And this is being imposed on them and they are told if they want to keep their job they just accept it.  Well that’s going back to the 19th Century.  And we’re not going back to that type of working, where you can just be sacked and then told to get on your bike if you do not accept those worse conditions.

And that’s why I believe that this strike is so important to Unison, is so important to our 1.3 million members who will be watching what Tower Hamlets do.”

“Nobody wants to take strike action.  Nobody wants to take it in these circumstances, but sometimes you have no choice.  Sometimes you have got to stand up and be counted.  And this is one of those events. So although it’s the Tower Hamlets branch – and I do thank them for all the work that they are doing – you have got the full support of our Region and you’ve definitely got the support of the General Secretary of our union.  And I will be with you, step by step, as we take on this Council.  Get them to see sense!”

“We will get movement from this Council because they are so, so in the wrong.  And I know that I am being recorded and I hope it does get through to John Biggs, what I am saying, because he is so, so in the wrong. And we will make sure that he understands the message that we’re saying today.”

•Read more about Tower Rewards:
Tower Rewards

•Read more about the Biggs Administration:
Executive Mayor John Biggs

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