Unite ‘dismayed’ at threat to 64 housing association jobs
Riverside job losses
The announcement today (Wednesday 3 August) of a possible 64 job losses at the Riverside housing association in Cumbria has been met with dismay by Unite, the country’s largest union. Riverside said the cause of the threatened job losses in Cumbria was part of a nationwide plan to save £30 million over the next three years to absorb the impact of the annual one per cent cut in housing association rents imposed by the government last summer.
Unite said that Riverside has a two-year plan to reduce job losses across the UK by up to 300-400 employees. Riverside employs a UK total of about 2,800 staff.
Fighting any compulsory redundancies
Unite regional officer Steve Power said: “It is early days in relation to Cumbria. We had our first meeting with management today and will meet again on 10 August.
“We are dismayed at the threat to jobs as Riverside is one of the biggest employers in Carlisle and the jobs under threat are skilled trades, such as bricklayers, joiners, plasterers and plumbers. One of our main concerns is that the management wants to employ a smaller number of workers to become multi-skilled, even though the employees may not have all the required skills. We will be fighting strongly against any compulsory redundancies.
“What is happening in Cumbria is being mirrored across Riverside’s operations across the UK in terms of threats to jobs, as many as 400, because it claims it has to absorb the one percent cuts in rents imposed on housing associations by ministers in 2015.” Riverside’s website says: “Established nearly 90 years ago, we have grown to become a major provider of affordable housing, care and support services in England and Scotland, with over 52,000 homes in management.
“Operating at scale across over 150 local authorities, our vision is to transform the lives of the 90,000+ people we house and revitalise the neighbourhoods in which they live.”
In the year ending 2015 Riverside booked a surplus of £45 million before tax.