Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Notting Hill Housing Trust: 93.5% vote in favour of Strike Action.

This is an amazing result and Notting Hill Housing Trust (whose motto is “All Together Better”) should be ashamed that they provoked such a negative response from their traditionally very moderate employees.

Our UNISON Housing Association branch hasn't had its member’s vote so decisively to take strike action for decades. Even the most militant of unions very rarely get above 90% “in favour” of strike ballots.

So what completely crass and objectable management decisions have provoked such a response from its workforce?

Check out the new UNISON Housing Association branch NHHG action blog at “All Together Worse”.

The ballot for strike action has arisen from NHHT imposing cuts to terms and conditions of employment which will have a negative effect on female staff with caring responsibilities (reducing carers’ leave and ending flexi-time). The employer’s own equality impact assessment has acknowledged this but the changes are going ahead anyway. Carers’ leave cost the organisation £30,000 in 2008 which is a small fraction of the Chief Executive’s current salary. Her most recently published salary is £165,868 (2008/2009) which was a 7% increase on the previous year and included a bonus of just under £11,000.

Strike action is very much the last resort. The NHHT Board has previously ignored a 300+ signature petition from staff, a 95% consultative ballot vote in favour of further action by UNISON members and a request to meet with ACAS. There does not appear to be any desire to negotiate by the employer”.

They are also completely slashing existing agreements on redeployment and compulsory relocation protection.

Notting Hill Housing Trust has refused to allow UNISON to meet or even address its Executive Board to try and explain its case. Why are senior management so scared that their decisions will not stand up to the light of day that they refuse to independent arbitration with ACAS (this is the point of ACAS for crying out loud!) or allow the Board to even hear the voices of its employees? I assume that its top “Executive Pay consultants” are allowed to make presentations and recommendations to the Board?

This is all stuff and nonsense. Recently I have had conversations with a number of senior political figures from more than one political parties who privately describe the utter contempt and complete loathing they have for large unresponsive Housing associations who have such poor governance. These views are really troublesome for genuine supporters of accountable and well run Housing Associations

My view has always been that if they treat their staff like rubbish they will treat their residents in the same way.

Please send messages of support to activistsATunisonhablondonDOTorg and to http://twitter.com/unisonhousing and check out previous posts here, here and here.

No comments: