Tower Hamlets Community Housing staff to strike over pay

PUBLISHED: 12:32 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:41 30 May 2018

Housing workers at Tower Hamlets Community Housing are set to take two weeks of strike action from Monday, June 4. Picture: Tower Hamlets Unison

Housing workers at Tower Hamlets Community Housing are set to take two weeks of strike action from Monday, June 4. Picture: Tower Hamlets Unison

Tower Hamlets Unison

Workers at Tower Hamlets Community Housing (THCH) are preparing for a two-week strike over pay.

The housing association’s Unison members oppose a new “market based” pay system, introduced in April, which they say “breaks promises” made to them.

They plan to hold industrial action from June 4 to June 17.

According to Unison’s Tower Hamlets branch, the new system relies on “market intelligence” from a private consultancy company, Inbucon, to determine the rate of pay for each role, instead of staff being paid according to National Joint Council local government rates, based on job evaluations.

The union says rates will be “market tested” every two years with details on the range of salaries and pay for other roles deemed “commercially confidential” and hidden from staff.

Unison also claims promises that some staff would receive pay rises failed to sway workers, who voted to reject the scheme earlier this year. The housing association, however, strongly disputes this account.

Philip Sullivan, THCH’s chief executive, claims “all staff” pocketed more money following the roll-out, as well as a “guarantee” protecting pay for staff “doing their current job”.

“Unison has decided on two occasions to ballot its members for industrial action,” he said.

“On the most recent occasion less than half of all Unison members who were balloted voted in favour of strike action, but Unison still plan to ask its members to strike.”

The proposals, which will not affect rents, follow two months of talks between the housing association in Commercial Road and Unison. These discussions, the company says, resulted in numerous amendments to the pay plans, details of which were unspecified.

The preceding 12 months saw numerous meetings where THCH informed staff and union representatives about the plans, THCH added.

Strikers now plan take their protest to residents, telling tenants about the impact of the new pay scheme on services and how the issue affects them.

THCH, who manage 3,200 homes in the borough, was set up in March 2000 through the partial transfer of Tower Hamlets Council’s housing stock.

One of the housing association’s corporate objectives is “Supporting people to achieve their goals”.

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