Newham Council finance workers set for four days of strikes in job evaluation row

Newham council finance staff represented by the UNITE union staging a lobby outside the council head

Newham council finance staff represented by the UNITE union staging a lobby outside the council headquarters. - Credit: Archant

Finance workers at Newham Council are set to walk out for four days in a row over how their jobs are evaluated.

Members of the Unite union voted unanimously to strike and if it goes ahead, there could be delays in the council paying suppliers and contractors.

Unite regional officer Unay Kasab said: “The council and Unite have an agreed process by which jobs are evaluated for pay purposes. This works if both sides play fair.

“The union correctly pointed out a clear error in how the ‘payables officer’ job had been evaluated which should have led to an increased score and eventually more pay for our members.

“While the council accepted this error, it then took the opportunity to change its mind about other areas of the evaluation.

“This action by the council means that workers don’t get the pay they deserve.”

He added: “Our members have four days of strike action planned and this could mean that suppliers of goods and services to the council won’t be paid on time.

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“We are calling for the council to do the right thing and revert to the agreed process for this particular job evaluation.”

The walkouts are set to take place on Friday, October 26, Monday, October 29, Friday, November 2 and Friday, November 5.

Mr Kasab said that he believed it would be the first strike to take place at the council for around two decades.

Katherine Kerswell, Newham Council’s interim chief executive and head of paid service, said: “I am aware of the proposed industrial action by a number of Unite members in the accounts payable team over concerns at how a job evaluation process was carried out.

“I have had a helpful meeting with Unite and we have agreed to work together to find a solution to the matter.

“Newham Council values all its staff and the trade unions they are members of.

“We are committed to working with Unite and its members to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible.”

Union members also gathered outside the council’s Dockside headquarters on Monday, where they were lobbying in support of the seven affected members of staff.