Housing association workers in strike vote

Workers at major housing association in North East and Yorkshire being balloted for strike action over ‘insulting’ pay offer

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Workers at Thirteen Housing Group, which has over 35,000 properties in North East and Yorkshire, are being balloted for strike action in a dispute over an ‘insulting’ pay offer as the chief executive pockets £215,000 a year.

Unite the union said that in an earlier consultative ballot, its members had overwhelmingly rejected a three per cent pay offer at a time the real cost of living (RPI) is currently 9.0 per cent and set to rise further.

Workers are being offered an extra day’s holiday on their birthday, but being hit with increased pension contributions. The combined effect of the proposed pay and pensions’ changes will be to leave those in the pension scheme about £1,000 a year worse off.

Unite’s members are now being balloted for industrial action, including industrial action short of a strike. The ballot opens on Tuesday, April 19 and closes on Thursday, May 5.

Unite regional coordinating officer Mark Sanderson said, “It is simply unacceptable that with bills rocketing, Thirteen Housing Group is asking our members to take a pay cut while putting more into their pension. These proposals will leave many £1,000 out of pocket this year, which Unite will not agree to.

“The employer needs to think again and table a more acceptable offer to our members who have Unite’s full support in their fight to win a fair deal,” he added.

“Since 2019 our members have received no more than a 2.8 per cent increase to their wages in total while Thirteen’s CEO, Ian Wardle has received a 27 per cent jump in his £215,000 a year salary.  He’s among the best-paid housing association CEOs in the country,” Sanderson went on to say. “The contrast with his team’s pay offer for our members is insulting.”

The majority of Thirteen’s homes for sale and rent are on Teesside.

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers’ living standards.

By Shaun Noble

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