England: Housing association neighbourhood managers balloted for strike action over ‘erosion of employment conditions’

Housing managers at one of the UK’s largest housing associations are being balloted for strike action over employment conditions.

The Unite union said a “major erosion” in the working conditions of neighbourhood managers at five Peabody Trust sites in London has led to the ballot.

Unite represents 26 of 55 of the neighbourhood managers who the union said deal with anything from a stabbing to looking for a missing fob, as well as all estate-based matters that are not picked up by the caretakers/repairs team.

The ballot for strike action at the Peabody Trust, whose origins date back to 1862, opens on Wednesday (6 November) and closes on Wednesday 27 November.

Unite said that its members’ complaints included new contracts requiring evening and weekend work anywhere in the UK; carrying out training outside working hours without additional pay or time off in lieu; and allocating cases of serious anti-social behaviour cases without adequate training and risk assessments.

Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed said: “The neighbourhood managers do vital work in ensuring the smooth running of the Peabody Trust 24/7 – they deal with all that comes their way from stabbings to a lost fob.

“What the management has now imposed on our members is a major erosion in their employment conditions, without serious consultation with Unite.

“We regard the management’s stance as high handed and this has now resulted in a strike ballot by Unite’s 26 managers.

“The bosses wanted the number of neighbourhood managers to be cut from 80 to 65 – but 35 have already left the department because of the restructuring process which is central to the issues we are balloting on. 

“Once again, we urge the management to come to the table for constructive talks.”

It is the second time in a year Unite has balloted Peabody staff. Last December, Unite claimed a significant victory when 26 customer service staff working for the trust in central London gained improved terms in transferring to Pitsea, Essex. 

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