Union says Wishaw workers deserve fair conditions

Wishaw Housing Association workers on the picket line
Wishaw Housing Association workers on the picket line

Wishaw Housing Association staff started four days of strike action today (Tuesday) in a bid to protect their working conditions.

The association is trying to cut the workers’ holiday entitlement from 29 to 25 days and increase the working week from 34.5 to 35 hours.

Last month a ballot of Unite members, which includes housing officers, senior staff customer services assistants, cleaners, maintenance assistants, and accounts assistants, voted unanimously to take strike action.

Unite says this is the latest in a series of attacks on the pay and conditions of workers at Wishaw Housing Association – and is a cut too far.

Unite regional officer Gordon Casey said: “Wishaw Housing Association has not played fair with our members in recent years and has even been acting against the advice of their own employers’ association - Employers in Voluntary Housing (EVH).

“In 2014 our members had their pensions massively reduced. EVH said there should be a minimum two-year consultation period, but Wishaw HA pushed ahead regardless.

“In that same year our members had to go through an incredibly stressful job evaluation process, and a number of posts were downgraded. But in 2015 EVH did an independent re-evaluation, and all of the posts bar one were put back to their original pay grade.

“In 2016 all of our members suffered a pay cut, with the largest cut being in excess of £3,000 per annum.

“On top of that there have been job cuts that have increased workloads for remaining staff, a reduction in bereavement allowance, and changes in rotas to allow the association’s office to remain open at lunch time.

“Our members have been flexible and dealt with these massive changes with an open mind and with good will – but these latest cuts are the final straw for our members, and they are determined to resist them.”