Unite says a quarter of staff from London housing association face dismissal or 33% salary drop

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A quarter of the staff at a London housing association face dismissal and being re-engaged on terms that could see pay cuts of up to £8,000-a-year – about a third of their salaries, Unite has warned.

Unite is now asking the board of One Housing Group, which manages 13,000 homes in London and the south east, to reconsider its decision which could see 245 staff face losing their jobs in September.

They would then be reinstated on much lower pay, and worse terms and conditions. Unite says that the cuts could force employees into homelessness themselves, as they would be unable to pay their mortgages and rent.

In a letter to Anthony Mayer, the board’s chair, Paul Kershaw, Unite Housing Workers’ Branch chair, said: “This abrasive approach undermines the ethos which helped to earn One Support a positive reputation for quality services in the past.”

Unite points out that this is happening when a number of local authority contracts with the One Housing Group have several years to run, with funds available to pay staff and the services they provide.

The union believes that the pay cuts are aimed at building up a financial ‘war chest’, so the association can undercut more responsible and decent providers in winning competitively tendered contracts.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently found One Housing Group has been ‘failing to protect the safety and welfare’ of some of its residents and has demanded urgent improvements in one of the group’s projects for people with mental health problems.

Unite regional officer Nicky Marcus said: “It’s an outrage that support staff, working with some of the most vulnerable people in society, may face homelessness themselves as a direct result of these devastating cuts.

“One Housing talks of the importance of its social purpose and valuing their clients, but, in reality, they simply wish to expand by undercutting other housing associations through cheap labour.

“This creates a race to the bottom in terms of wages and experience as loyal and longstanding staff are forced out. I fear that the latest damning assessment of One Housing’s services by the CQC will not be the last.

“Management have failed to provide us with any business case whatsoever and although they state that consultation is on-going, they are unable to meet with us before 4 September, underlining the disdain with which they are treating their staff.”

Staff have already endured a four-year pay freeze, but this has not applied to executives who are paid up to £135,000-a-year, including chief executive, Mick Sweeney


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