Pay cut decision overturned after council worker strike

The building repairs team staging a protest at Town Hall

The building repairs team staging a protest at Hackney Town Hall after colleagues were affected by a cut to productivity earnings because of the pandemic - Credit: LDR Julia Gregory

Dozens of workers who repair council homes helped overturn a pay cut for two colleagues by staging a series of lunchtime protests outside Hackney Town Hall.

The building housing team receive some pay from a productivity scheme, but because of the pandemic residents were reticent about allowing people into their homes.

It meant the number of jobs that the team were able to carry out fell significantly.

Two employees who maintain boilers saw their pay cut over the last 15 months – and could be around £9,000 out of pocket.

The council said it has now reviewed its decision after meeting the workers following the team’s daily lunchtime protests .

Dylan McEvoy said he suffered a pay cut of around £500 a month, as it was harder to access people’s homes to check gas safety and ensure their boilers were safe.

His fellow gas engineer Tigo Harrison said: “Everybody was doing fewer jobs. Pre-pandemic, I was doing about 12 jobs a day.”

Tigo Harrison and Dylan McEvoy

Tigo Harrison and Dylan McEvoy - Credit: LDR Julia Gregory

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It dropped to about 10 a day because of the issues around access and he estimated he lost between £150 to £200 a month.

“It’s made a big difference to me. I have to support my family. I have a two-month-old daughter and I support my mother as well.”

Hackney Council said it investigated the grievances and followed legal procedure.

The workers decided to stage their protest after the pair lost their appeal.

Hackney building housing team staged lunchtime protests everyday last week

Hackney building housing team staged lunchtime protests everyday last week - Credit: Unite

Steve Edwards, from the Unite union in Hackney, said: “Everybody was suffering a decreased rate of access."

He said the two workers were not the only members of the team who saw a drop in the number of jobs they could complete. However they lost an appeal which prompted the week of lunch hour protests.

The council's group director of neighbourhoods and housing Ajman Ali reviewed the decision after meeting the workers.

The two workers’ deducted wages will be now be backdated and reinstated.

This came after Cllr Clayeon McKenzie, cabinet member for housing services, pledged to have “a frank and meaningful discussion” with the union.

He said the council was disappointed that the unions “have chosen to demonstrate when we have always fostered an open dialogue, a positive relationship and supported working together in order to get the best outcomes.”

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