The reignited dispute involving drivers and passenger escorts on school buses for disabled children in Hackney will mean five days of strike action later this month, after council bosses reneged on a previously agreed settlement.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said that Hackney’s council’s U-turn on the agreement for its 38 members has now prompted strike action from 00:01 on Monday 25 November, ending at 23:59 on Friday 29 November. 

Unite today (Thursday 7 November) called on Hackney councillors to intervene ‘to bang heads together’ in the authority’s management team.

The workers originally called off their strike in the long-running dispute over payments for working split shifts on 9 October, but the council is now insisting that the staff use contractual leave days for the training days agreed as part of the settlement.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Hackney council bosses have not just negotiated in bad faith - they have attempted to cheat low paid workers out of a negotiated agreement.

“The behaviour is so appalling that councillors now need to urgently intervene and bang heads together in the management team, if further strike action is to be avoided.

“We are only too aware that industrial action causes disruption – but it is the employer who will be responsible. Our members are absolutely outraged and feel betrayed.

“We reached a settlement that agreed the training and development sessions would take place during paid work time. This was a vital component that paved the way for our members to call off their strike in early October.

“When we met council officers to discuss implementation of the agreement, we were told that staff would need to use their inset days for training as part of the arrangements. The inset days for these staff are not used for training - they are paid leave days.

“Unite’s door is always open for constructive negotiations – but our bottom line is that we won’t tolerate this dedicated group of workers being treated in a cavalier and contemptuous fashion.”  

The original dispute centred on a claim for compensation for the split shifts, backdated to July last year when the issue was first raised. Unite said this claim is based on the next grade in the Green Book national agreement which the union believed was the correct one for this group of workers. There were six 24-hour strikes over the summer on this issue.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.