10/08/2012

Housing Association Staff Face Sack Unless They Agree To Pay Cuts

A quarter of the staff at a London housing association face dismissal and being re-engaged on terms that could see pay cuts of up to £8,000-a-year - about a third of their salaries - Unite has warned.

Unite, the largest union in the country, is now asking the board of One Housing Group, which manages 13,000 homes in London and the south east, to reconsider its decision which could see 245 staff face losing their jobs in September.

They would then be reinstated on much lower pay, and worse terms and conditions. Unite says that the cuts could force employees into homelessness themselves, as they would be unable to pay their mortgages and rent.

In a letter to Anthony Mayer, the board’s chair, Paul Kershaw, Unite housing workers’ branch chair, said: “This abrasive approach undermines the ethos which helped to earn One Support a positive reputation for quality services in the past.”

Unite points out that this is happening when a number of local authority contracts with the One Housing Group have several years to run, with funds available to pay staff and the services they provide.

The union believes that the pay cuts are aimed at building up a financial ‘war chest’, so the association can undercut more responsible and decent providers in winning competitively tendered contracts.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently found One Housing Group has been 'failing to protect the safety and welfare' of some of its residents and has demanded urgent improvements in one of the group’s projects for people with mental health problems.

Unite regional officer Nicky Marcus said: "It's an outrage that support staff, working with some of the most vulnerable people in society, may face homelessness themselves as a direct result of these devastating cuts.

“One Housing talks of the importance of its social purpose and valuing its clients, but, in reality, the company simply wishes to expand by undercutting other housing associations through cheap labour.

“This creates a race to the bottom in terms of wages and experience as loyal and longstanding staff are forced out. I fear that the latest damning assessment of One Housing’s services by the CQC will not be the last.

"Management have failed to provide us with any business case whatsoever and although they state that consultation is on-going, they are unable to meet with us before 4 September, underlining the disdain with which they are treating their staff.”

(CD/GK)

Related Northern Ireland Recruitment News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

11 December 2014
Housing Charity Employees To Go On Strike Over Pay Cuts
The housing charity Shelter is set to be hit by a three-day strike next week as union Unite announced that 400 of its members would be walking out from Tuesday 16 December over pay cuts of up to £5,000 for frontline staff.
16 December 2011
Social Housing Project Boosts Building Jobs
There was a pre-Christmas boost on housing this week with the keys being handed over to residents in one of Northern Ireland's biggest social housing developments to date.
24 May 2016
Strike Action Ballot Opens At Pizza Factory In Nottingham
Workers at the 2 Sisters owned Pizza Factory in Nottingham started voting on Monday, 23 May, over possible strike action in a dispute over an outstanding pay claim for 2015.
17 February 2015
Police Forces Support Improved Pay Offer
Members of Unite the union, working for police forces in England and Wales have backed an improved pay offer in a ballot, it has been announced. Civilian staff, including 999 call handlers, scene of crime officers, police community support officers and custody officers, accepted the revised pay offer of 2.2%, or £400, whichever is greater, by 92%.
30 January 2015
Union Seals Better Pay Deal For Woolwich Ferry Workers
A strike by Woolwich Ferry workers has been averted after Unite the union secured a better pay deal for the workforce, and persuaded ferry operator Briggs Marine to abandon threats to tear up long-standing agreements.