Staff at housing association, One Housing Group (OHG) will strike for three days from tomorrow (Wednesday 19 June), after the hardline management rebuffed last-minute attempts by conciliation service Acas to kick-start talks.
Members of Unite, the country’s largest union, voted overwhelmingly for strike action, following management's decision to impose swingeing wage cuts to 200 frontline supported housing staff from February 2014.
The strike action by about 150 workers will start at 08.00 tomorrow (Wednesday 19 June) and run to 18.00 on Friday (21 June). The main picket line will be at One Housing’s headquarters at 100 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8EH - and at 10 other OHG sites across the capital.
If the management still refuses to negotiate, a further three days of strike action are scheduled for 3, 4 and 5 July
Unite is highly critical of OHG’s chief executive Mick Sweeney for accepting a £31,000 hike in pay and bonuses, while asking 200 support workers to accept cuts of up to £8,000-a-year, averaging £2,000 for most.
Unite regional officer Nicky Marcus said: “The hardline management has refused the offer from Acas to mediate in this dispute, which could see many seasoned professionals, working with some of the most vulnerable people in society, being asked to take savage pay cuts.
“These proposals come on top of a three-year pay freeze, amounting to a 13 per cent pay cut in real terms, while Mick Sweeney, CEO of an allegedly 'not for profit' company, greedily pockets far more than the prime minister in pay and bonuses.
“We hope that the strikes this week will bring a cold dose of reality to the management and that we can get back around the negotiating table, under the auspices of Acas, before the next tranche of strikes early next month.”
Unite members voted by a margin of 83.7 per cent in favour of strike action. The ballot came at a time when OHG’s surplus had soared, with a 200 per cent rise in the supported housing wing alone, as it continues to win massive – and lucrative – contracts from local authorities.
For further information, please contact Nicky Marcus on 07779 800607 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.