National fund launched to support housing association strikers

Housing

Wishaw and District Housing Association staff are striking over proposals to cut their annual leave

30th November 2016 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A Scotland-wide strike fund appeal has been launched to support workers taking industrial action at a west of Scotland housing association.

Unite members at Wishaw and District Housing Association (WDHA) are staging four days of strikes this week and next in a bid to safeguard their holiday entitlement.

It comes after bosses at the association proposed cutting workers’ annual leave from 29 to 25 days, while also increasing their working week by 30 minutes – the equivalent of four additional working days a year. 

Unite said this is the latest in a series of attacks on the pay and conditions of workers at Wishaw Housing Association.

Our message to the housing association board is that this dispute will not simply go away

Unite regional officer Gordon Casey said: “We are asking all our branches in Scotland to contribute to the Wishaw strike fund – including all our branches throughout the housing association sector. The union is determined that our members at Wishaw get all the support they need in their fight for fair conditions.

“Our message to the housing association board is that this dispute will not simply go away. I make an offer here and now to sit down with them to discuss how we can move forward, so that our members can go back to what they do best – working hard every day for the benefit of tenants and the wider community in Wishaw.”

Some 14 Unite members at the association are involved in the dispute, including housing officers, senior staff customer services assistants, cleaners, maintenance assistants, and accounts assistants.

All of the members voted to support industrial action in a ballot in August, which was followed by four days of strikes in September.

Speaking ahead of the action earlier this year, Niall Gordon, the association’s chief executive, said: “WDHA is disappointed that staff has taken this action. Staff have withdrawn from negotiations and WDHA have asked staff to reconsider their strike action and to resume negotiations.

“The terms and conditions within Wishaw have been historically higher and in excess of those agreed between EVH and Unite union within the housing sector, the board at WDHA now wish to align these with the terms and conditions on offer elsewhere in the sector.”