This week 30 years ago: Hackney mayor misses clown church service as chauffeurs refuse to work

The Gazette 30 years ago

The Gazette 30 years ago - Credit: Archant

Hackney’s figurehead mayor Medlin Lewis had to axe nine social engagements because of an overtime row involving her two chauffeurs.

She was supposed to be at the grand opening of the first ever Hackney Irish Festival and the world famous clown service at Holy Trinity Church in Dalston.

But she stayed at home twiddling her chain because her chauffeurs wouldn’t take her. They were fed up because they hadn’t been paid overtime money due from November and December. And, reasonably, they refused to do any more weekend work until they were remunerated.

The council was not prepared to hire extra drivers to cover the shifts because of its cash crisis. A spokesperson said: “We acknowledge this money is owed to the drivers and have given them as assurance it will be in their February pay packet. But until they get the cash they are refusing to do any overtime, as they are perfectly entitled to do.”

Democrat leader George Wintle said: “It’s a very sad state of affairs.”