Staff strike at Wishaw & District Housing Association

Wishaw & District HAWorkers at Wishaw & District Housing Association will begin a four day strike today in a dispute over holiday pay and an increased working week.

Some 14 members of the Unite union will take part in the strike action, including housing officers, senior staff customer services assistants, cleaners, maintenance assistants, and accounts assistants.

According to the union, the workers are seeking to protect their working conditions as the Association is trying to cut the workers’ holiday entitlement from 29 to 25 days and increase the working week from 34.5 to 35 hours.

Unite said the moves are the latest in a series of attacks on the pay and conditions of workers.

Unite regional officer Gordon Casey said: “Wishaw Housing Association has not played fair with our members in recent years and has even been acting against the advice of their own employers’ association - Employers in Voluntary Housing (EVH).

“In 2014 our members had their pensions massively reduced. EVH said there should be a minimum two-year consultation period, but Wishaw HA pushed ahead regardless.

“In that same year our members had to go through an incredibly stressful job evaluation process, and a number of posts were downgraded. But in 2015 EVH did an independent re-evaluation, and all of the posts bar one were put back to their original pay grade.

“In 2016 all of our members suffered a pay cut, with the largest cut being in excess of £3,000 per annum.

“On top of that there have been job cuts that have increased workloads for remaining staff, a reduction in bereavement allowance, and changes in rotas to allow the association’s office to remain open at lunch time.

“Our members have been flexible and dealt with these massive changes with an open mind and with good will – but these latest cuts are the final straw for our members, and they are determined to resist them.”

In a ballot in August, 100 per cent of Unite members voted to take strike action against the cuts.

A spokesman for Wishaw & District Housing Association told Scottish Housing News: “The changes to holiday pay and working hours were introduced to align the Association with the rest of the social housing sector and the terms on offer are over and above the standard agreed with EVH and Unite.

“Wishaw & District Housing Association is open to all negotiations however as it stands the staff have decided not to do so.”

The spokesman added: “In the meantime our offices will remain open and the Association will provide a full service to its tenants.”

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