FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 25/09/23
The Tower Hamlets Labour Group has called on Mayor Lutfur Rahman to find a resolution to his dispute with striking waste workers from the Unite union.
One week into the strike action taken by waste workers has left huge piles of rubbish on the streets of Tower Hamlets with concerns about health and safety rising.
The strike action only adds to the woes of the Rahman who 11 months ago declared a ‘waste emergency’ in the borough but has since struggled to get to grips with the issue, with some residents spending weeks without collections over the summer months.
Since coming to power, following his seven-year ban from holding office for electoral fraud, Mayor Lutfur Rahman has dramatically increased the number of personal advisors and consultants working in his office – costing taxpayers an extra £5m for his term in office.
Labour controlled Newham announced on Friday they had come to an agreement with Unite to end industrial action being conducted by council workers in the borough.
On the same day, Mayor Rahman moved to break the strike, by calling in private waste contractors Bywaters to clear the mountains of waste building outside of Tower Hamlets Town Hall.
Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group Cllr Sirajul Islam said:
“We are 11 months into Lutfur Rahman’s waste emergency – one created by a service struggling with low morale, short staffing, and poor working conditions.
Our lowest paid council staff are struggling through a cost-of-living crisis, with inflation resulting in pay offers working out as real terms pay cuts.
We have a mayor who is more than happy to increase his own personal office costs by £5m but can’t find the money to for some of our lowest paid workers.
Politics is about priorities and Lutfur Rahman’s only priority is himself.”
Shadow cabinet member for the Environment, Cllr Asma Begum said:
“Residents of Tower Hamlets were already having to contend with Lutfur Rahman’s waste emergency with some bins not being collected for weeks.
Now that situation has only worsened because our mayor is more than happy to expand his personal budget but tighten the purse strings for our lowest paid workers.”