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. Denying sick pay in what is now the largest association in the country, would have been a serious step backwards for working conditions in the sector and Unite welcomes the decision as avictory for good sense.
The communication to staff acknowledges there had been “lively debate” and that it was an “emotive subject”. We are glad that many staff members chose to join Unite over the last few weeks. We welcome the growing membership, there is no doubt that a strong 'fighting back' union can alter the way management treats staff. As the organisation restructures there are numerous issues facing staff in which a strong independent trade union will have an important role to play.
As commercial pressures increase it is important that we remind management that this is a sector with big and increasing surpluses, and a workforce who’s pay and conditions have been squeezed in recent years. Workers in the sector are not prepared to be trampled on and Unite will stand by them. We are also calling for a 4% pay increase for staff in the sector.
Clarion management say they wish to address a problem of rising rates of short term sickness and Unite will be keen to talk with management on this issue.
We regret that Clarion propose to end formal recognition of Unite in the new organisation as part of the restructuring process. We have explained that this is a particularly bad time to disrupt channels of communication and sends out a very negative message about the direction of travel chosen by the new management team. With or without formal recognition, Unite will continue to represent Clarion staff. Unite is the largest trade union in the country and is experienced at representing members in sectors with extremely union hostile managements. But we appeal to the executive team to do the sensible thing and commit to continuing to work with Unite on the many issues the new organisation faces.