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

Workers at ForViva housing association vote to strike

Over 90% vote for strike

 

Unite housing maintenance workers at,the north west based housing association ‘ForViva’ have voted to strike with a 90.6% majority.  The 100 electricians, plumbers, roofers and labourers work for Liberty, a subsidiary of the main association.

 

 

While the highest paid director trousered £381,000 last year the workers are being offered no pay increase at all this year. With RPI inflation standing at 2.6% this amounts to a pay cut. The workers have not received a pay rise in the last three years while executive pay has rocketed upwards.

 

Doesn’t feel fair

 

As one worker put it, “we haven’t had a pay rise for 3 years, so ever year money has got tighter and tighter for my family. But while we’ve not had a pay rise and we’re being pushed to achieve higher and higher targets the director pay went up 11% last year. Doesn’t feel fair to me.”

 

 

A Unite representative, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, said: “Our members have overcome intimidation to give the union an undeniable mandate for strike action. This is a vote for fair pay and against the mega salaries of executive directors.”

 

Service to tenants suffers

 

Workers also complain that a culture of intimidation and unmanageable targets is causing real stress in which service to tenants suffers.

 

Such as been the pressure to meet targets that workers have been forced to urinate in their vans.

 

 

Both Unite and Unison, which is also in dispute, point out that Liberty’s workers are performing duties outside of their contracts which are creating savings for the business and delivering a better service for tenants.  The workers are carrying out multiple trades despite not being paid for multi-skilling.

 

 

Grave concerns

 

In a joint letter to ForViva bosses Paul Dennett, Mayor of Salford, Barbara Keeley MP and Rebecca Long Bailey MP and shadow minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the union’s claims left “grave concerns regarding the treatment of Liberty staff”.

 

“We have heard reports of a target driven culture which is driving high rates of sickness and stress, lack of formal union recognition going back many years, and I understand the staff transferred from the council have received no pay award for three years – meaning an effective pay cut year on year.”

 

Commercially driven

 

Unite members in housing associations in London and elsewhere will recognise many aspects of this report as commercially driven management ride roughshod over their workers and tenants.  Like members at ForViva we are determined to put a stop to these attacks. A meeting of Unite LE1111 housing workers in London agreed last night to send a message to Unite in ForViva pledging maximum support.

 

 

Seventy-five workers in Salford and Oldham, along with twenty-five others working in Ellesmere Port and Knowsley were involved in the ballot. Unite is demanding a wage of £28,500 (£13.70/hour) for all trades. In a turnout of 61.5%, 90.6% voted for striking and 98.4% for action short of striking. The unions are also calling for a 5% rise for office staff who are currently paid between £17,000 and £26,000 per year.

 

Messages of support to uniteinforviva@gmail.com

 

Paul Kershaw, Unite LE1111 Chair

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