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STOP DISCRIMINATING AGAINST LOCAL YOUTH WORKERS IN TOWER HAMLETS

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Recently the Youth Services has experienced extensive cutbacks including the closure of 18 youth centres and a discriminating and degrading restructuring process that will have a dire impact on the young residents and hard-working families of this borough.

We provide a professional frontline service to some of the most needy youngsters in the country – we make a direct difference to improving youngsters’ lives by being their main port of call!

Recently Tower Hamlets Council has released a document called ‘Staff Consultation Paper Re-organisation of the Integrated Youth & Community Services; and A Team Arts’ (23/01/2017). This restructuring process which is being led by Ronke Martins-Taylor and Claire Belgard is suppose to consult the Youth Workers but instead sets out the full extent of further unfair cutbacks.

 

We OPPOSE the cutbacks and re-structuring of the youth services for the following main reasons:-

  •  HARSH AND UNFAIR TREATMENT: No other restructure programme in the Council has gone through such extensive scrutiny – why has youth services been singled out?
  • INFLEXIBLE WORKNG HOURS: Part-time youth workers will be forced to take full-time positions or as job share: new working hours are proposed from 2pm-10pm and this will be discriminating against workers with families, single mothers, fathers, carers or those with additional responsibilities.
  •  EXTREME VETTING PROCESS: Workers have to re-apply for their existing job roles, changing to new roles like youth 'engagement' workers or ‘officers’. They have to re-apply for their old jobs, attend interviews and go through a rigorous vetting process through ‘assessment centres' where it will be determined whether staff are “competent enough” to perform their duties. Many have been working in their profession for many years. Have any other departments in the Council been through the same rigorous vetting process?
  •  ‘RING FENCING’ JOBS LEADING TO A LACK OF JOB PROSPECTS: There will be no direct or competitive assimilation of our jobs because of the new job description (which remains largely the same!). All new job roles have been ‘ring fenced’ so we cannot work towards job improvement or progress towards more senior roles.
  •  DISCRIMINATION AGAINST BANGLADESHI YOUTH WORKERS: Most youth workers being affected are from the Bangladeshi community, the largest ethnic community group in the borough. They will be most affected by the cuts and so will their community.
  •  UNCERTAIN FUTURE PROSPECTS: Workers can re-apply for their jobs, but if they are unsuccessful many will become unemployed.
  •   DEGRADING PAY SCALE REDUCED TO THE CLEANERS GRADE: our pay scale will be changed to the lowest point on each band on the NJC contract (changed from JNC), the same as the cleaners.
  • SPECIAL TREATMENT OF ‘A TEAM’ ARTS: The restructuring of ‘A Team’ arts is taking place separately to ours, although the work of ‘A Team’ arts is fully funded by the youth service. The arts team has been treated specially compared to our direct frontline services.
  •  DECREASED BUDGETS AFFECTS THE YOUTH: Tower Hamlets has one of the largest youth populations in the country. By cutting the professional work force that deliver these crucial services to young people and community by 50 percent, Tower Hamlets is failing the next generation.

WE, the Tower Hamlets Youth Workers’ Alliance demand a fair and transparent process that does not UNFAIRLY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST EXISTING YOUTH WORKERS. We demand to be heard and want to see LOCAL JOBS FOR LOCAL PEOPLE!

We want to see a fair future for all the workers in the borough. This restructuring process is dividing our community and negatively impacting on the future of workers, workers’ rights and young people.



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