Sanctuary strike picket line. Photo: Unite housing branch
Sanctuary strike picket line. Photo: Unite housing branch

Paul Kershaw, Unite Housing Workers Branch chair

Sanctuary housing maintenance workers once again had a good turnout for the picket line on Monday 25 March.

The strike of these London-based workers has got off to a brilliant start. They are fighting for union recognition and a pay rise that compensates for real-terms cuts in pay.

Sanctuary Housing Association is a large national employer that refuses to recognise unions and has never before faced strike action.  Its revenues for last year stood at £943 million, and its surplus increased by 73% to £101.3 million.

Monday’s picket meeting voted unanimously to escalate action – a further nine days starting on 10 April.

Despite a bullying approach from local managers, confidence is high, with new members signing up to the union and joining the strike every day. Support from tenants has been overwhelming.

Sanctuary has a presence throughout England, Wales and Scotland, and it is very significant that workers are joining Unite around the country, as they face similar issues to the London team.