Staff at One Housing Group to begin three-day strike

The union Unite says management has refused to allow mediation, but Kevin Beirne of the housing association says the consultation had 'considered all options'

Kevin Beirne
Kevin Beirne

Unite union members at One Housing Group will strike for three days from tomorrow in a dispute over pay cuts.

The union said it expected that about 150 Unite members at the housing association, which employs 1,200 people, would take part in the strike.

Unite said it would set up its main picket line at the housing association’s headquarters in Camden, north London.

There will also be pickets at 10 of One Housing’s other offices around the capital, the union said.

One Housing Group said earlier this month that staff salaries would be "market-linked" from February next year, which will mean pay cuts for some staff.

Unite said 200 staff members would be affected by pay cuts of up to £8,000 a year and an average of £2,000 for most of those affected.

It criticised the housing association for increasing the salary of its chief executive, Mike Sweeney, by £31,000 in pay and bonuses to £176,000 a year.

The union also promised fresh strikes, between 3 and 5 July, if management still refused to negotiate.

"The hard-line management has refused the offer from Acas to mediate in this dispute, which could see many seasoned professionals, working with some of the most vulnerable people in society, being asked to take savage pay cuts," said Nicky Marcus, Unite’s regional officer.

"We hope that the strikes this week will bring a cold dose of reality to the management and that we can get back around the negotiating table, under the auspices of Acas, before the next tranche of strikes early next month."

One Housing Group disputed the number of people Unite would take out on strike tomorrow, saying that only 41 had voted for strike action from 96 members.

"A handful of staff have yet to agree the new terms and we are confident that we will be providing a full service during any strike action," said Kevin Beirne, group director of housing, care and support at One Housing.

"Our consultation process left no stone unturned and considered all available options in order to secure the best possible deal for staff within the challenging environment. We did not feel there was anything further to be gained by going to Acas."

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