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Young workers win victory against stingy leisure firm

YOUNG workers have scored a massive victory in east London, winning the London living wage and backdated pay for over-18s.

Union Unite and its London young members’ committee campaigned for around 1,000 young workers in Tower Hamlets who were “short-changed” by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), London’s largest leisure centre employer.

Activists pointed out that, despite being a living wage-accredited employer, LLW paid 18 to 20-year-olds just £8.10 an hour in Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

But Tower Hamlets Council caved in to the pressure on Wednesday night, agreeing to pay the full living wage of £10.20, backdating the rise to April.

Labour Mayor John Biggs publicly welcomed the agreement, though some union activists voiced frustrations that young Labour rightwingers had tried to shut the campaign down.

Unite regional officer for young members Mercedes Sanchez said that this has proved that “there is no obstacle, legal or otherwise, stopping councils and GLL doing the right thing.

“This also once again shows the value of union membership and organisation. Nobody else took this issue up.”

Syed Nahid Uddin, a Unite young member in Tower Hamlets, told the Star that the victory was an achievement of “class unity,” which has “established the primacy of union organising” over the hopes of “opportunist, career-minded young politicians” holding back pay justice in London.

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