'Clapping doesn't pay the bills'

Drivers and assistants, who take disabled children to school in Hackney, vote to strike over Covid-19 payment

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Drivers and passenger assistants, who take disabled children to and from school in Hackney, have voted unanimously to strike over the failure of the council to make a one-off £500 Covid-19 payment and other health & safety issues.

Unite called today (November 13) on Hackney council in east London to negotiate a fair settlement before strike days are announced shortly.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said, “This is a very clear message from our members that we will take strike action to defend our members’ safety.

“The Hackney council needs to abide by past agreements and ensure our members are properly rewarded for carrying out the vital task of transporting disabled children to and from school during the continuing pandemic,” he added.

“We are asking for a one-off lump sum of £500 for our members, who number more than 30, to go some way towards recognising the value of the work they undertake. Not so long ago we were clapping essential workers, but clapping does not pay the bills.

“Our campaign has highlighted how school buses with a capacity of 30 are transporting up to 25 children,” Kasab continued. “The ‘bubble’ in place in the school is broken as soon as children get on the buses and social distancing evaporates as they jostle with each other.

“The employer has the chance to resolve this dispute before we announce dates for industrial action shortly – we urge the council to grasp this opportunity.”

By Shaun Noble

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