London lettings services firm Goodlord’s reputation is ‘in tatters’ after more than three months of strike action over £6,000 pay cuts, the hostile targeting of striking workers and the loss of its Living Wage Foundation accreditation, Unite said yesterday (Wednesday 19 May).
More than 20 members of Unite, employed in Goodlord’s referencing department, began strike action on 22 February over fire and rehire contract changes that resulted in annual pay falling from £24,000 to £18,000.
In March, Unite wrote to The Living Wage Foundation urging it to end its accreditation of Goodlord over the cuts, which take wages to below the foundation’s London living wage of £21,157.
The foundation has since confirmed Goodlord’s is no longer accredited as a living wage employer.
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.
Unite is concerned that Goodlord could now seek to attack wages in other areas of the business now that it is not abiding by Living Wage Foundation rates.
Indefinite strike action at Goodlord will continue into the summer. New strikes have been called following the dismissal and hostile targeting of union members while on strike, as well as Goodlord’s use of agency labour during the industrial action.
Unite is demanding that those staff who have been dismissed after refusing to sign the new contracts following the expiration of their old contracts while on strike are offered their jobs back.
Unite regional officer Steve O’Donnell said, “Goodlord’s refusal to do the right thing and back down on these poverty inducing pay cuts has left its reputation in tatters,”
“We know Goodlord’s clients are not happy at the situation and The Living Wage Foundation has ended the company’s accreditation.
“What is happening at Goodlord is exactly why fire and rehire, which is spreading through workplaces big and small across the country, needs to be outlawed.
“Goodlord CEO William Reeve’s attempts to play hardball with union busting tactics are simply making the situation worse.
“We understand that as chief executive at Goodlord, chairman of Nutmeg.com and a non-executive director at Dunelm, Mr Reeve is used to making decisions unopposed.
“But our members’ resolve has only been strengthened by Mr Reeve’s refusal to negotiate and the underhand attempts to break the strike.
“They have the full strength of their union, Unite, behind them and they are not going anywhere until Goodlord tables an acceptable offer.
“Meanwhile, the fact Goodlord is no longer abiding by Living Wage Foundation rates raises the possibility of pay cuts in the company’s other departments.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said, “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