Members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, employed by Onward Housing and Hyndburn Homes Repairs Ltd have begun balloting for strike action over pay.

Pay dispute

The 230 workers at the housing association, who are based at depots in Accrington, Bolton, Manchester, Liverpool, Runcorn and Stockport, primarily undertake housing maintenance and repairs work in social housing as well as managing the housing stock and the delivery of service to tenants.

The workers have been offered a one per cent pay increase which is in effect a huge pay cut as the RPI inflation rate is currently 4.9 per cent.

Despite Onward Housing pleading poverty, its accounts show that its highest paid director has seen their pay increase by 12 per cent and now receives £262,000 a year, while aggregate executive pay has increased by 25 per cent and aggregate non-executive pay has increased by 8.1 per cent.

Essential role

Unite regional officer Colin Carr said: “Our members play an essential role in ensuring that tenants’ homes are well maintained.

“These are highly skilled workers who are dedicated to their jobs and they are not going to accept a real terms pay cut especially when the pay of directors is rapidly increasing.

 “Strike action will inevitably cause serious disruption to tenants in the weeks before Christmas but this dispute could still be resolved if Onwards returns to the negotiating table and makes a realistic pay offer.”

Ballot opens

The strike ballot opens today (Monday 8 November) and closes on Monday 22 November. If workers vote for industrial action then strikes could begin before Christmas.

Strike action is likely to result in tenants experiencing delays to emergency repairs with planned maintenance work postponed or cancelled.

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.