Newham council  faces ‘significant disruption’ to council tax collection and rebates when staff stage a week-long strike in a job evaluation row which has cost them thousands of pounds in lost pay.

A dozen council tax benefit managers, members of Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, will strike for five days starting on Monday (27 January), continuing until Friday (31 January) inclusively.

The dispute centres on council bosses failing to properly implement a job evaluation scheme, which, Unite says, has led to the managers being incorrectly graded – with individual staff losing an estimated £4,000-a-year since 2011.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “There will be significant disruption in council tax collection and also in issuing urgent rebates to some of the poorer residents living in the borough.

“The dispute is about the employer’s failure to properly implement a job evaluation scheme which has led to our members being wrongly graded and, as a result, being wrongly paid.

“This has led to salary losses of several thousands of pounds annually – one estimate has the loss at about £4,000-a-year going back to 2011. It is a disgraceful state of affairs.”

Newham council was plagued with industrial disputes last year, when Unite took up the cases of refuse workers in a grading dispute and housing repairs’ staff furious over a new pay structure.

Onay Kasab added: “This is yet another example where Newham council is failing to abide by an agreed pay and grading system, and follows the previous ballots for strike action involving our members in the finance section, waste services and repairs’ management.

“Once again, we have issued notice for strike action so that dedicated employees are paid what is rightfully theirs.

“Newham council can prevent this strike by coming to an agreement which is acceptable to our members. It is easy to resolve - just pay people what they are owed.

“The consequences of not doing so are clear, beginning with five days of strike action next week, with more industrial action on the cards heading into the spring.”

Unite’s members are based at Barking Road, East Ham, London, E6 2RT and voted unanimously for strike action.


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


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