Cycling instructors from Enfield and their colleagues will demonstrate outside Enfield Civic Centre, Silver Street from 18.45 on Wednesday 14 July, protesting against a 12 year pay freeze and worsening terms and conditions.
Organised by the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain (IWGB) the event will begin with a protest ride from their office in Bethnal Green, reaching Enfield Town Station at approx. 18.30. The main photo opportunity will be 18.30-19.30 when protesters will ride and march with banners and the IWGB samba band to demonstrate outside the Enfield Civic Centre while council is in session.
The pay freeze is equivalent to a 30% real terms pay cut or £172 per week.
Instructors are also subject to unfair cancellation policies, where they can lose all income from booked lessons with 24 hours’ notice. Furthermore, instructors need to carry out more and more unpaid preparation work which is needed to keep adults and children safe.
Enfield Council have failed to engage in meaningful discussions on these issues with cycling instructors and their trade union, the IWGB. Instructors teach children and adults how to ride bikes safely throughout Enfield and are responsible for teaching more than 5000 pupils every year. Despite the union’s initial contact with the council in March, the council refuses to acknowledge the concerns of workers and have declined or ignored multiple requests to meet and discuss the issues. They have also categorically refused to engage in a union recognition process.
Alex Marshall, IWGB President said: “Enfield Council treat their cycling instructors as disposable and have been doing so for ages. These workers have not had a pay rise for 12 years! They are refusing to talk to the people who keep their constituents' children safe on the road. Cycling instructors cannot continue working under these exploitative conditions and action is needed now. Enfield must take responsibility, engage with the workers and give them the pay and conditions they more than deserve"
Enfield cycling instructor Ben House said: “The pay freeze has meant for many instructors that rent is now barely affordable at all and a mortgage is out of the question. Work which has been booked for months can be cancelled at the drop of a hat, just one working day before a week-long course is about to start. With such short notice I have almost no chance to plug the £500 hole that makes in the month’s finances. Enfield Council and Cycle Confident benefit from total flexibility but we’re the ones paying the price”.
Michael McSherry, Chair of IWGB Cycling instructor’s Branch said: “Enfield Council has refused to enter any form of negotiation, even on union recognition, despite the council’s insistence that cycle training is a key element of its plans for improving the environment. Cycling Instructors need more than lip service to get by. It's time for Enfield Council and Cycle Confident to step up, do the right thing and negotiate with the union.”.
Edit: The demonstration was initially rescheduled due to weather warnings and will now proceed on Wednesday 14 July.
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