Friday, January 22, 2010

Notting Hill Strike Ballot to defend family rights and basic worker protections

UNISON Housing Association Branch is gearing up to support members in Notting Hill Housing Group. UNISON members in the Group decided overwhelmingly to hold a secret ballot for strike action in response to senior management plans to attack workers family friendly agreements and basic staff protections.

An indicative ballot of members found a massive 95% in favour of strike action. Notting Hill is planning to abolish carers’ leave, get rid of flexi-time and cutting protections for staff redeployed to lower paid jobs from two years to only six months.

Senior management are now refusing to even negotiate and after 3 months of trying to talk, staff have been forced as a last resort to vote on strike action.

I think the attitude of “some” of Notting Hill senior management is just incredible and frankly silly. Getting rid of Carer’s leave will cost £30k per year. This is just macho management postulating at its very worse. They are unable to cope with being challenged and just trying to prove something for nothing.

This shows the danger of grossly inadequate checks and balances in the governance arrangements of some of our big Housing Associations whose senior managers appear to consider themselves to be some sort of new super ‘elite’ that have just lose touch with everyday reality.

Notting Hill used to be a beacon of excellence to the sector. In public housing it has an incredibly proud socially responsible history. It has now apparently decided to join “a race to the bottom” for their staff while still paying its top tier of management bundles with all the usual perks. This is not just a problem for unions but unaccountable organisations which treat their staff like rubbish will also tend to treat their residents in exactly the same manner.

It is no wonder the sector has such a bloody awful image problem and so many housing associations are so deeply distrusted and disliked (...and I am being “polite” here) by so many residents, councillors, assembly members and MPs of all political parties.

Check out this report in Inside Housing.

Picture: former Notting Hill Landlord.

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