Branch Secretary : suz.muna.unite@gmail.com
  

The Unite Housing Workers Branch (LE1111)

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Latest Updates

TUC discusses housing

"...Speaking in support of a motion on the Grenfell Tower disaster, Unite delegate Jim Kelly paid tribute to all who were tragically killed in the fire, including the many trade union members, some of whom were members of Unite, who perished, and others still who are now traumatised by the blaze or not yet accounted for..."

RPI inflation hits 3.6% What about our pay?

Unite members will face a further squeeze as RPI inflation - the most realistic indicator of costs faced by workers - came in at 3.6% in figures announced today.....

 

Plumbing pay deal win

...Workers in England and Wales covered by the agreement will receive an overall 8.4% increase on pay over the lifetime of the three-year pay deal. Workers will also receive two days additional holiday, increases in allowances which match increases in basic pay and a 20 per cent increase in sick pay....

 

Branch member Glyn Robbins on Grenfell in The Guardian

Grenfell must be a turning point in housing - for staff and residents. Making social housing more commercial has eroded workers’ skills and knowhow. We still care about creating a better housing world, but do politicians?...

 

Huge rise on bogus self employment

Huge rise in construction bogus self-employment demonstrates urgent need for radical employment reforms - Unite is calling for root and branch reforms of employment rights after new figures demonstrated bogus self-employment in construction is out of control.  A Freedom of Information request by Unite has revealed that in 2016/17 at least 1.076 million construction workers were paid via the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), an eight per cent increase on the figure of 12 months ago when 992,973 were paid via CIS. In total 47 per cent of the entire construction workforce is now paid via CIS.

 

Unite welcomes police ‘corporate manslaughter’ probe into Grenfell fire

The police’s investigation into possible corporate manslaughter charges relating to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, when an estimated 80 people died in the fire, was welcomed by Unite.  Unite, which is representing about 30 families affected by the tragedy, said that ‘people have to be accountable for their decisions’ in the run-up and aftermath of June’s fire.
The police probe relating to corporate manslaughter centres on the actions of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO)...

#BankStrike! Bank of England first strike in 50 years

Tuesday 1st August Badge Day – collect a strike badge from the picket and wear to work! Wednesday 2nd August Picnic Day – join the picket line for a lunchtime picnic to show your support Thurday 3rd August – 1-2pm – Closing Rally at Bank of England...

 

When 'sleep-in' time counts!

When it comes to looking at a worker's working hours, there are two different sets of regulations. Firstly there are the Working Time Regulations which set out the rules regarding rest breaks, daily and weekly rest, maximum weekly working hours and, of course, minimum annual leave. Secondly there are the rules regarding National Minimum Wage (NMW) which deal with what constitutes 'work' and therefore attracts NMW.  These two sets of regulations don't always match up, and this can cause confusion. Unite has prepared a briefing paper for its members – ‘Sleep In & Travel Time Cases’...

Barts Strike: Low paid workers two week action

Pressure is growing on the private contractor Serco as hundreds of low paid workers at Barts Health NHS Trust prepare for a two week strike from Tuesday 25 July in their continuing fight against low pay...

Our Reps and Activists are Schooled in Leadership!

Our hardworking reps quite often have to work unsociable hours, evenings and weekends, and any time off is therefore very precious. However, over 20 reps were prepared to give up a Saturday to come along to our first Leadership Forum on Saturday 15th July...

Catalyst housing: harsh new sick policy

Catalyst housing association have introduced a harsh new sickness policy without bothering even to give the impression of consultation.  Catalyst derecognised trade unions some time ago and appear determined to stamp on widespread staff concerns about unsustainably high workloads, bullying and poor management.  This move marks a continuation of a worrying trend in which some housing associations have launched attacks on the pay and conditions of their staff.  Is Sports Direct really a model for housing associations? Catalyst housing association have introduced a harsh new sickness policy without bothering even to give the impression of consultation. Catalyst derecognised trade unions some time ago and appear determined to stamp on widespread staff concerns about unsustainably high workloads, bullying and poor management. This move marks a continuation of a worrying trend in which some housing associations have launched attacks on the pay and conditions of their staff...

Mears / Northward housing strike

Unite, the UK’s largest construction union, announced today a dramatic escalation in strike action as part of a long running dispute with private contractor Mears and joint venture company Manchester Working (operated by Mears) over pay differentials and attacks on terms and conditions.  The 170 plus housing maintenance workers employed by the two organisations will be striking continuously for four weeks from Saturday 8 July to Friday 4 August.  Today’s announcement comes as workers take part in the eighteenth day of strike action of the dispute... 

 

Hot and bothered

You know what it can be like at work – one person feels boiling hot, another is wearing their hat and scarf – the temperature is never exactly right.  But in this current heatwave with the temperatures soaring into the 30s, it’s more important than usual that workers are in a comfortable environment...

 

Grenfell Tower: Independent inquirey plea

Successive housing ministers failed to act on a 2013 report warning of the dangers of fire to high-rise blocks like Grenfell Tower – including Theresa May’s new chief of staff Gavin Barwell.  The revelations came as the Prime Minister ordered a public inquiry into the blaze.

After Grenfell: Change needed in construction

Unite, the UK’s largest construction union, is calling for a radical new approach to regulations and safety laws, following the Grenfell Tower fire.  Unite has three key demands: an overhaul of building regulations, the end of attacks on existing regulations and the implementation of a licensing regime across the industry...

Mears strikers protest at Chartered Institute of Housing

£3,500 less for doing the same work: Members of Unite in social housing will be demonstrating outside the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Housing 2017 conference...

Next Meeting for Our Sanctuary Members

Our Sanctuary members in London are angry but we are meeting up to get organised on Thursday 13th July, 7.30pm, at La Fabrica45 Stroud Green Road, N4 3EF (map)

Every Rep's a Leader - Leadership Forum

An event for reps and activists - leadership skills that will make us more effecient and effective in our workplaces. Download the details here.

Clarion: a fair slice of the cake?

...its no wonder that workers at Clarion (the merger of  Circle and Affinity Sutton) workers are feeling increasingly undervalued and overworked...

Unite seeks action after sharp fall in construction inspections revealed

Unite is seeking urgent meetings with ministers and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a freedom of information (FOI) request revealed a sharp drop in construction inspections...

Grenfell: Never again

Numerous branch members attended Friday’s protests to express solidarity and we will be on Saturdays protest from midday at Kensington Town Hall.  See our reports from the national Unite Live website and the £100,000 donation to the fire relief fund...

 

Grenfell Tower appeal

There has been a wave of sympathy and help for the victims of this fire.  The housing workwers branch has produced a statement expressing sympathy and noting some of the troubling questions that arise - see the full statement here. We must help those directly affected now - at least two hundred are members of Unite - and ensure that no stone is left unurned to prevent this happening again.  Unite has launched an appeal, see a letter from Len McCluskey below and details of local help points. As an intial step we have agreed a £200 donation...

 

Fire at Grenfell Tower

Residents and housing workers have been shocked by the events in Kensington last night.  Below is an initial statement expressing our sympathy and concern at the incident. The Unite housing workers branch sends solidarity to all affected by last night’s shocking fire at Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West estate in London. We send our deepest sumpathy to the bereaved.  We salute the courage of the fire-fighters, local residents and ambulance crews who responded with self sacrificing speed...

 

United We Stand!

Standing shoulder to shoulder with residents help us as trade unionists to achieve more of what we want - better pay, better working conditions, and healthier environments. It's as simple as that! Details of the next HA Workers and Residents Network are available here and the flyer is available here.

Unite condemns Mears beard ban

Unite has condemned a decree by outsourced housing maintenance company Mears, which bars workers from having beards as ‘penny pinching stupidity’.

Striking Manchester housing workers in ‘crazy car clamping’ threats

Private housing contractor Mears and joint venture company Manchester Working, are accused of issuing ‘crazy car clamping’ threats to striking workers. Unite, the UK’s largest union, has said the threats have backfired and only increased the resolve of the workforce...

 

Fighting back on pay at Thirteen Group

In the period leading up to Christmas 2015 Vela and Fabrick Housing groups were in the process of merging to become Thirteen Group and negotiations were taking place regarding group wide terms and conditions plus an annual pay rise. Included in the negotiations from the trade union side were Unite who were the largest union, Unison, UCATT & GMB...

Inflation hits 3.5%

Britain’s largest union, Unite warned of a continuing Tory ‘wage squeeze’ not seen since Victorian times as the latest figures out today (Wednesday 17 May), showed the retail price index measure of inflation running at 3.5%...

Striking housing workers to protest outside Manchester Town Hall

...Mears is seeking to introduce a new contract that requires workers to have greater flexibility in shift working, work longer hours, weekend working and requires a greater use of technology, without any real increase in pay...

Clarion housing: Unite recommends rejection of pay offer

Clarion housing has offered staff an increase of 2.5% on basic pay rates.  Inflation is currently running at 3.1% measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) and all analysts project inflation to rise this year so the offer represents a real terms pay cut.  Unite reps are recommending staff to reject this offer in any consultation.  Unite continues to call for 4% increases in the sector, this figure was overwhelmingly agreed by Unite members in Clarion...

Inflation to reach 3.4% CPI

...According to Simon Kirby Head of Macro Economic Forecasting at NIESR, “households will feel the pinch from rising consumer price inflation.” ...

Family Mosaic offering staff financial advice to ease mental health concerns

Family Mosaic has announced that in response to the pressures resulting from low pay they will “offer our staff the services we previously provided exclusively to our tenants.” What about a 4% pay increase?...

Book release: New book on housing by branch member

“Glyn Robbins knows what he’s talking about.  If words are weapons, this will be just the ammunition we need to fight for an end to homelessness.”  Ken Loach

4 for All' Pay Claim Resources

All members are being encouraged to put in their pay claims at a minimum of 4% for all workers. Our campaign page has a wealth of resources including a draft pay claim, pay survey, bargaining brief with key facts and figures and posters.

Election issue: Rough sleeping rising

The number of new rough sleepers in London has risen by a shocking 15%; new figures from CHAIN (Combined Homelessness Information Network) for January to March show an overall increase of 7% on previous years and record a disturbing 1,370 first time rough sleepers.  Overall, rough sleeping in England has risen by 16% in the last year and has more than doubled in the last five.  Our branch members working with rough sleepers delivering homelessness services report that they are increasingly hard pressed...

And The Alternative Housing Awards Winners Are ...

Find out who won the prestigious Alternative Housing Awards and why they were nominated. Pictures from the day also available here.

Clarion's Possible Partnership With GLA

The Unite Housing Workers' Branch condemns the discussions between the Greater London Authority and union-busting Clarion Group.

Housing Associations' Serial Neglect of Residents and Properties

Housing associations have been guilty of 'serial neglect of residents and properties' according to the Guardian. It highlighted allegations against the likes of Catalyst, Sanctuary, Notting Hill Housing, and One Housing Group.

Newham Keyworkers Condemn 40% Rent Increase by One Housing

Keyworkers are concerned that after successive years of public sector pay freezes, they cannot hope to meet the steep rent rises. A vibrant campaign is now developing.

Unite says #Jobstownnotguilty

In November 2014, as part of the protests against the privatisation of water in Ireland, an impromptu sit-down protest stopped the car of a minister and her entourage.  Now, those protesters are charged with kidnapping, a charge that could result in prison sentences and removal from political office...

Jump in inflation underlines case for pay claims

The headline inflation figure jumped to 2.3% in February.  Figures released today show that inflation has risen by much more than expected; the main drivers of the rise (from 1.8% in January) were food and fuel prices, but ‘core inflation’, an indicator that strips out volatile food and energy prices, also jumped more than predicted...

Construction workers have high suicide risk

Unite is calling on the industry to take radical action to reduce the high number of suicides among its workforce...

New evidence that housing sector can afford decent pay

'Economic sentiment' among associations is at it's highest level since the financial crisis...

Unite on post Brexit workforce in construction

...This survey demonstrates once again that the government’s failure to guarantee the rights of existing EU citizens is playing fast and loose with the well-being of the UK economy...

Masking sickness at work?

‘Sickies’ down – but do figures belie real illness. Fear for their jobs has prompted British workers to take the fewest number of sick days since records began – only 137m working days last year were lost to sickness, equivalent to just over four days per worker...

Clarion back-tracks on denying sick pay

New group to pay sick pay from day one - Stung by accusations that the newly created Clarion Housing Group was becoming the Sports Direct of housing associations they have this morning told staff that:  “...staff who are eligible to receive occupational sick pay will do so from the first day of their absence.” Unite and many staff had raised to strong objections to the move to withhold sick pay for the first three days of sickness for and promoted staff... 

National apprentiship week & dead end construction apprentiships

National Apprenticeship Week 2017 is taking place from 6-10 March 2017, promoting apprenticeships and the positive impact they can have on individuals, industry, businesses and the wider economy...

Rough sleeper immigration raids & homelessness raids

Homelessness agencies including St Mungos are identified as complicit in immigration raids and a process that results in some of London’s most vulnerable people “disappearing into a nightmare of indefinite detention and deportation”, The Corporate Watch website reports today....

Pay: "Utterly shameful"

Shocking report shows UK nearly bottom for wage growth Housing associations have been booking record surpluses year after year while squeezing staff pay and conditions.  Reps from the sector sau enough is enough and are calling for 4% increases this year. But a new report shows the UK  coming in at 103rd out of 119 countries in a global ranking tracking wage growth since the financial crisis...

Stop benefit sanctions

National day of action against sanctions - Thursday 30th March 2017. The government’s despised benefit sanctions regime has pushed people into sleeping rough, a scathing report by MPs has concluded...

Housing Associations book record surpluses - again

English Housing Associations have produced a record surplus of £3.4 billion over the last year according to the latest ‘Global Accounts’ for the sector produced by the Homes and Communities Agency...

Housing Association workers and residents form network

Housing association residents gathered with housing workers...

New Sress guide from TUC and HSE

A new guide to tackling workplace stress using the health and safety executive management standards has been produced by the TUC and the Health and Safety executive...

Clarion staff vote for union recognition

In a management organised vote staff at Clarion have supported union recognition.  Around half the staff participated and a clear majority of 61.4% voted for recognition.  This follows an earlier vote of Unite members who voted 98% in favour of industrial action in support of union rights....

High heel probe

Report: discriminatory dress codes widespread...

Useful as a chocolate fireguard

Government strategy fails construction skills gap.  After six years of fiddling and relying on the so called invisible hand of the market...

Unite committed to union rights for Clarion staff

Staff concern as management disrupt lines of communication.  98% vote for industrial action to defend union rights. Disapointment that first move of new Clarion housing group is threat to union representation...

Money's too tight to mention

Succesful pay training day - It's probably no surprise to fellow members of the sector that whilst the housing sector grows richer, social house building is curtailed, our members wages are decreasing way below inflation....

End poverty pay at British Airways

Cabin crew working for British Airways ‘Mixed Fleet’ taking strike action over ‘poverty’ pay levels which are leading to crew sleeping in their cars between shifts...

See here for other news

Plus
 

Branch Manifesto for Housing 
Sign Up to Our Housing Manifesto Demands

 


About Our Branch

We organise across the housing sector, mainly in housing associations, private housing organisations, and umbrella bodies. We are an active and diverse community with around 3,000 members. We have supported members in many workplaces to improve pay, terms and conditions, and to fight against the race to the bottom in social care and housing. We take a campaigning approach to our activities, and have run a number of successful and high profile campaigns to fight injustice in the workplace. 


For further information contact Branch Secretary, Suzanne Muna - suz.muna.unite@gmail.com, or Branch Chair Paul Kershaw at kershawpaul@hotmail.com.

News

TUC discusses housing
RPI inflation hits 3.6% What about our pay?
PayUp
Plumbing pay deal win