Unite Scotland has announced that around 40 of its members in Aberdeen city council’s housing services department are set to take four days of strike action from today (Tuesday 27 July).

The four-day strike action which represents a ‘major escalation’ in the dispute will commence at 08.30 on Tuesday 27 July and will continue until 08.29 on Saturday 31 July. There will be pickets at Marischal College (Aberdeen city council headquarters) on these dates.

Unite’s members have already taken several days action in relation to a dispute over cuts and reorganisation in the council’s housing services department. Housing officers and support officers have repeatedly warned that they have reached ‘breaking point’ due to the damaging effects on work morale resulting from cuts to the housing support service, and plans to merge the housing officers and support officers roles together.

The housing services department has also faced ‘unprecedented pressures’ due to a rise in housing arrears and homeless figures in the local authority area. Rent arrears have risen from £2.64 million in 2015-16 to £7.9 million in 2020-21 in the local authority, while Scottish government figures reveal that Aberdeen had 1486 homeless applications in 2019-20 up from 1285 in 2015-16.

John Boland, Unite industrial officer, said: “The four-day stoppage represents a major escalation in the dispute our members in the housing services department have with Aberdeen city council. The workers face unprecedented pressures due to the pandemic, and the proposal to merge job roles will add to that pressure, and provide a worse service to the people of Aberdeen. We had hoped the strength and determination of feeling among our members would get the council back to the negotiating table but they have stubbornly refused to engage with us to positively resolve this dispute. Unite’s members are prepared to continue this fight not only for themselves, but also for the people of Aberdeen because it is they who will ultimately suffer from these proposed changes.”  


Notes to editors:

  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.