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Housing workers prepare for strike action

JANUARY 21, 2020

Unite members employed at Helena Partnerships Limited, Golden Gates Housing Trust and Torus 62 Limited, who undertake housing maintenance on social housing in Warrington and St Helens, are preparing to ballot for industrial action after their parent company (Torus Group) imposed a below inflation pay increase on the workforce.

The workers overwhelmingly rejected a below inflation pay offer of 1.5 per cent for 2017/18 and two per cent for 2018/19, in a consultative ballot, despite this management refused to enter into negotiations and dismissed union concerns and instead imposed the pay increase on workers.

While Torus Group is determined to continue to force employees into below inflation pay increases, their austerity measures do not apply to their own board members. Last year the best paid members of the Torus board saw their payments increase by 6.2 per cent.

A formal ballot for strike action is currently being prepared and members will begin voting next month, strike action is scheduled to begin in the early summer.

If strike action takes place then 22,000 tenants will not receive urgent repairs, while planned maintenance and improvement work will be substantially delayed.

Unite regional officer John Sheppard, said: “Workers at Torus Group are sick to death of being expected to accept below inflation pay increases. The company constantly expects them to undertake more work, while cutting their pay in real terms.

“Workers have now said that enough is enough and they will no longer accept crumbs from the rich man’s table, as they get poorer in real terms.

“If strike action occurs then Torus’ tenants across Warrington and St Helens are going to see severe disruption to their repairs and maintenance service, which will result in cancelled visits, disruption and delays.

“This dispute is entirely of the company’s own making. It has been caused by the company’s intransigence and their failure to negotiate.

“It is not too late for Torus’ management to see reason and to return to the negotiating table and avoid the need for strike action.”

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