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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 June 2014

"I'm Bryan": Housing workers strike against rep suspension

A Unite housing workers' branch officer

Between 6 and 9 June, commuters on Camden's Chalk Farm Road were treated to the familiar sight of union members with Unite flags and placards outside One Housing Group (OHG) headquarters. This time round, members were protesting about the suspension and disciplinary action against lead convenor Bryan Kennedy.

Bryan was allegedly suspended over performance issues, although none of the allegations warrant his removal from the workplace. Bryan's treatment is also far harsher than that of others accused of underperformance within OHG.

Unite housing workers' branch and Unite members at OHG believe the suspension is motivated solely by management's growing fear of the union, and desire to prevent Bryan's highly effective union organising.

On previous occasions, strike action was a response to frontline staff pay cuts of around 8,000 per year, and other attacks on terms and conditions.

Unite members led by Bryan and a team of reps, successfully forced the employer into a retreat on several key proposals.

One Housing, one setting

Yet it appears OHG has one setting: attack. This is perhaps not surprising from an organisation that considers nothing wrong with slashing the wages of frontline staff, or illegally refusing to pay the minimum wage to essential overnight care despite a recent law change which requires it to do so.

OHG amassed surpluses of 36 million in 2013 (up from 13 million in 2012), and has given CEO Mick Sweeney a pay increase of 31,000 then publicly denied doing so.

The OHG leadership's behaviour is maverick and divorced from reality. They have become indifferent to their staff, and by extension their tenants and service users.

It is a brutal commercialisation of an organisation that was established to assist the homeless and vulnerable; a social purpose that many dedicated, hard-working, but increasingly overworked, underpaid, and ill-treated staff still support, despite the naked corporate greed of their most senior management team.

The Unite housing workers' branch is dedicated to supporting the 'I'm Bryan' campaign, so named because an injury to Bryan is an injury to all reps. We will continue to exploit all our industrial, organising, political and campaigning strength to ensure that OHG gets no peace until it treats all its staff with the dignity and respect they deserve.

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In The Socialist 11 June 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS: Private profit kills

Newark byelection: capitalist parties in crisis

'Trojan Horse': who is attacking education?

World Cup carnival can't hide corruption and injustice

Them & Us


Anniversaries

Tiananmen Square 1989

The battle of Orgreave


International socialist news and analysis

Spain: European elections redefine political map

Greece: CWI councillors elected


Socialist Party workplace news

10 July: United action can beat austerity

Bakers' union calls for general strike

Unison: No waiting for Labour - fight the job cuts

Housing workers strike against rep suspension

Firefighters to walk out for 24-hours

Care UK workers continue dispute

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Now is the time to join the Socialists!

Why I'm a socialist

Stevenage: EDL not welcome here

Cuts consensus: Labour joins with Ukip to back Tory council


Readers' comments and reviews

Ken Loach's Jimmy's Hall

Obituary: George Duff


 

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