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Strikes force One Housing Group into talks
Paul Kershaw, Unite housing workers' branch
Following a series of strikes by Unite members, management at One Housing Group (OHG) have agreed to refer the dispute to Acas (the conciliation service).
Unite has called for this since before the first strike and has argued that it may have been possible to avert strike action had a referral been made.
It is welcome that management appears to have backed down on this. Strangely the chair of OHG, Anthony Mayer, had expressed the view that the matter should be referred to Acas but management continued to dig its heels in while strikes continued.
It is very unusual for a board chair to be publicly at odds with his management in this way.
The strikes have been well supported with increasing numbers of staff participating and joining Unite, as well as wider support from the community.
It seems that this pressure has begun to tell on management. Members have been angered by the gratuitous attack on Unite issued by OHG management at the same time as accepting an Acas referral but I know Unite negotiators will approach all talks positively, I hope OHG do the same.
Frontline staff face severe hardship due to the pay cuts. The group continues to pay some workers below the London living wage.
The group continues to make some of the healthiest surpluses in the sector and the chief executive gets a pay increase which the group reported publicly as a pay cut.
None of this will enhance the reputation of OHG.
Frontline housing support staff have demonstrated that they will not be ignored, it is to be hoped that this fact has sunk home to management.
Please send all strike donations c/o Nicky Marcus, Unite, 128 Theobalds Road, WC1X 8TN. Cheques made payable to LE/1111 or bank transfers to Unite Housing Workers LE/1111 Branch, sort code 08-60-01 Account number: 20040639
In The Socialist 18 September 2013:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party youth feature
Socialist Party workplace news
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International socialist news and analysis
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