Haringey benefits staff walkout

August 17, 2008

On Tuesday 12th August, there was a walkout of Benefits and Local Taxation staff after two union reps were suspended and the branch secretary put under investigation for allegedly calling people scabs when they crossed picket lines during the recent local government workers’ strike in July. The UNISON branch meeting the following day unanimously passed a motion condemning the Council’s actions and planning further action including strikes unless the suspensions are withdrawn and charges dropped by the Council.
See below for the article in the Tottenham Journal.
Tottenham Journal 14th August 2008

Suspended worker ‘proud of walkout’

Up to 60 Haringey Council staff staged a walkout on Tuesday afternoon in protest at the suspension of two colleagues.

Most staff in the benefits and local taxation departments walked out of River Park House, Wood Green, at 2.30pm after two workers were accused of “general intimidation and harassment of staff” while on the picket line during last month’s UNISON pay strike.

They claim a rift between workers and the department’s management led to the action.

Now court officer Sheila Amaneer and training and policy officer Mark Tindley, who between them have worked for Haringey Council for 26 years, have been banned from all council buildings. They have also been asked for their ID cards and mobile phones while their cases are investigated.

Mr Tindley said: “It is absolutely clear to me that it is an out-and-out attempt to undermine the work of the trade union in our department. He added:”As sad as that is, I am absolutely gutted to be sent away from duties. Nevertheless I am very, very proud to see my colleagues walk out in my defence.”

Mrs Amaneer was just as shocked to return from a court case where she was representing the Council to find the authority had booted her out, she said.

Their colleague Sean Fox, the UNISON branch secretary, says he is also being investigated but was not suspended.

Members met again yesterday to vote on whether or not to take official strike action.

A spokesman for Haringey Council said the suspensions were”in accordance with our standard employment procedures” and staff will remain on full pay during the probe, but it would be inappropriate to comment further.

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