Lord Sugar's rubbish 'shock' threw bin strikes into spotlight
The British business mogul, Sir Alan Sugar has been mocked over a post expressing his ‘shock’ and confusion at seeing rubbish piled on the pavements in East London, whilst driving through the area during a bin strike.
Lord Sugar wrote on X: “I am riding through Bethnal Green Road in Hackney my old Manor. I am shocked at the stock pile of garbage that is all over the pavements. It is not days of stuff it looks like weeks. What is going on ???”
First thing to be pointed out online was that Bethnal Green is in fact in the borough of Tower Hamlets, not Hackney, which led people to question how well Lord Sugar really knows his ‘old Manor’.
Whilst unbeknown to the business tycoon, Tower Hamlets was experiencing a bin strike, with over 200 refuse workers and street cleaners walking out having rejected a below inflation national pay offer.
It comes as a total of 23 local authorities have been affected by votes for industrial action this autumn by council workers, as a recent survey revealed how nearly half of those working for local authorities reported struggling to afford heating, electricity and water bills.
The post by the former Labour, turned independent peer, comes amid recent criticism when it was revealed Sugar attempted to avoid a £186 million tax bill.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Sunday Times alleged that the famous Apprentice host tried to become a non-resident for tax purposes, however his attempt failed due to him being a member of the House of Lords.
This recent revelation did not go amiss by hundreds of commentators on his ‘garbage’ post, who pointed the finger at the ‘woefully underfunded’ of councils along with the wealthy not paying enough taxes.
As one X user wrote: “Well, one of the issues is people not paying their fair whack of tax when asked to do so, depriving public services of much needed resources.”
Whilst another quipped: “Maybe too many people are trying to avoid tax, and central government isn’t funding councils. If more very rich people were happy to pay their tax, then maybe the streets would be cleaner. Just a thought.”
Labour councillor Asma Begum has laid blame at the door of the Tower Hamlet’s mayor Lutfur Rahman, from Aspire party, for allowing the strikes to escalate.
Begum wrote: “Tower Hamlets’ deteriorating state is fast becoming a national embarrassment ! The Aspire Mayor needs to address this pressing issue. The abundance of rubbish on our streets is not only tarnishing our pride but also impacting our quality of life.”
The Tower Hamlet bin strikes started on Monday 18 September however has now been called off on Tuesday, 26th September after Unite members secured an extra £750, as well as agency workers being brought in house.
Unite regional officer, Nick West said: “The strike action inevitably caused major disruption to bin collections and street cleaning services. This was entirely avoidable if managers had taken the situation seriously from the outset.
“Our members were determined to secure a fair pay deal so the intervention of the mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman played a part in helping to resolve this dispute.”
Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues