London estate agents using services from Goodlord are ‘facing further pain’ after striking workers from the lettings software provider were balloted for fresh industrial action over £6,000 pay cuts.
More than 20 members of Unite, employed in Goodlord’s referencing department have been on strike since February 22 over fire and rehire plans that would see their pay plummet from £24,000 to £18,000.
Goodlord provides services for a number of estate agents in London, including Life Residential, Best Estate Agents, Andrews and Featherstone Leigh.
The ballot for another round of strike action takes into account not just the pay cuts, but the dismissal and hostile targeting of union members while on strike as well as Goodlord’s use of agency labour during the industrial action. It opens on April 14 and closes on April 26.
Referencing staff, who are the lowest paid at the company, are the only group of Goodlord’s workers to have been singled out for fire and rehire attacks.
Impacted workers have been told by Goodlord that since they are now expected to work permanently from home after their central London office was closed in October, they do not need to live in London. This is despite having been originally employed on the basis that they lived close enough to the office to commute each day.
“Goodlord’s clients, including respected names such as Life Residential and Featherstone Leigh, would be appalled at the way the company is treating its lowest paid staff,” commented Unite regional officer Steve O’Donnell.
“Those clients are now facing further pain as Goodlord’s refusal to treat its staff decently has led to the prospect of strikes well into the summer.
“Not only is Goodlord trying to subject its staff to the most brutal fire and rehire policy, one that would see pay plummet by £6,000 to less than the London Living Wage, it has used the most underhand means to try and break this strike.
“Striking staff on fixed term contracts have been let go after Goodlord changed the deadline for them to sign new contracts. Meanwhile veiled threats about the impact of taking strike action on workers’ future employment have been made. The Agency Standards Inspectorate is also looking into reports that the rules around the use of temporary workers during industrial action have been broken.
“Goodlord is dragging its own name through the mud by behaving so dreadfully to its lowest paid staff. This dispute will not end until the company’s management comes to the table with an offer our members can accept,” he concluded.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey added, “Fire and rehire is ripping through our workplaces like a disease. Weak law lets bad bosses force through brutal changes to contracts, sometimes taking thousands of pounds off wages that families need to get by.
“It’s a disgraceful practice that’s outlawed in much of Europe and should be here. Unite is fighting for UK workers to be treated with the same decency. We won’t stop until the law is changed to protect working people from attack.”
By Ryan Fletcher