Friday, 12 November 2010

Snouts and troughs?

What with our struggle over the removal of Family Friendly policies still unresolved at NHHG the following articles are of particular interest. This year the group also posted an increased surplus, up to £8.1 million from £5.9 million the previous year.

If Miss Davies agrees with her partner that the sum of £310,000 is 'not really a lot' then perhaps she might like to revisit her decision to remove NHHG's family friendly policies? In terms of overall value the slight cost of them would seem like the bargain of the century in comparrison.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


The first of a week-long series of Lunchtime Lobbies of Notting Hill Housing Trust’s (NHHT) head office got of to a rousing start yesterday. UNISON members shared lunch with many of their non-union colleagues whilst protesting at senior management’s continuing refusal to negotiate on the new terms and conditions that they have imposed.

“It’s very encouraging to see non-union members supporting UNISON’s campaign to defend Family Friendly Policies at Notting Hill Housing Trust”, said UNISON Regional Organiser, Colin Inniss. “It contradicts the Trust’s claim that most members of staff are happy with imposed change. Unison’s campaign will continue until the Trust realises that cutting family-friendly benefits demoralises staff and has a negative impact on service delivery”.

UNISON’s dispute with Notting Hill Housing Trust is now in its third month. A day of strike action was taken on 15th March; further strike action is planned for May. In an effort to resolve the dispute, UNISON has referred it to ACAS for mediation.

Lunch Time Lobbies - Photos from Tuesday

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Lunchtime Lobbies

Every day this week UNISON members be holding lunchtime lobbies outside of the main Notting Hill office. The address is 1 Butterwick (Rear of Metro Building) Hammersmith W68DL. These lobbies will be a peaceful but visible protest against Notting Hill Housing's continued reluctance to take part in meaningful discussions around the controversial withdrawal of paid carers leave and flexi time.

The lobbies will take place every day this week between 12 and 2pm so please come along and offer your support.

Monday, 3 May 2010


A cost-cutting proposal presented by UNISON to Notting Hill Housing Trust (NHHT) has been rejected by the Trust’s Board. Additional meetings with NHHT’s Corporate Management Team have also ended without any agreement being reached.

The Trust’s Chief Executive, Kate Davies, has ruled out any further concessions on the changes to the terms and conditions that were imposed on all staff, without UNISON’s agreement, on 1st March,

The Trust’s cuts to terms and conditions have completely removed paid carers’ leave and flexitime for all staff. Redeployment pay protections and relocation allowances have also been cut by 75%.

UNISON, Regional Organiser, Colin Inniss, said: “The Trust’s Chief Executive, Kate Davies, expressed an opinion that these cuts to terms and conditions do not go far enough. That is a frightening concept for all of our members and one which should also worry tenants. Management by imposition demoralises a workforce and leaves UNISON with no other alternative than to continue our dispute with NHHT.

This will involve a series of Lunchtime lobbies of the Trust’s Head Office in Hammersmith’s followed by 2 days of industrial action.

UNISON has consistently stated that the solution to this dispute is not through imposition but by reaching a negotiated agreement which addresses the real concerns of NHHT’s skilled and committed employees. UNISON will be seeking the assistance of ACAS in reaching a reasonable agreement with NHHT. Only such an agreement can prevent further industrial action.”

For further info please see UNISON's Housing branch website and John's Labour Blog

Thursday, 1 April 2010


On Tuesday night Tooting MP Sadiq Khan, who is Minister of Transport and an UNISON member held a reception for local trade union members, Labour party supporters and constituents at the Atlee Room in the House of Commons.

There was a really good turn out with over 150 people attending. London UNISON Labour link sponsored the refreshments. Sadiq had invited Deputy Leader Harriet Harman MP, Home Secretary Alan Johnson MP and Youth Minister Dawn Butler MP as guest speakers.
John Gray was there as Vice-Chair of the London UNISON Labour Link committee and had brought with him two UNISON members from Notting Hill Housing Trust who had been on Strike earlier this month. Strike action is unheard of in our traditionally moderate sector yet members voted 93% in favour to protest at their treatment by the CEO who is trying to destroy family friendly policies at Notting Hill and slash basic staff terms and conditions while paying herself obscene amounts of money and perks (such as £11,000 per year car allowance).

This event followed on from last months successful meetings with Housing Minister John Healey and the reception given by Karen Buck MP (Westminster North) and Glenda Jackson MP (Hampstead and Highgate) at the House of Commons for UNISON members living in their constituencies. At this event both MPs had private discussions with the Strikers and will contacting Notting Hill senior management. The impact of these changes on the mainly female workforce was of major concern.Also at the reception was veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner who also met up with the strikers and gave a cracking speech on the importance of the Labour movement for ordinary working people. Former MP and current Head of Diversity at Channel 4 Oona King was also had a meeting and was very supportive. Future lobbies are being planned with London Assembly members and Council leaders. There was a Q&A after each speech. John asked a question of Harriet and Alan about the situation at Notting Hill and the attacks by its management on equalities. We will be contacting their Parliamentary offices later today with follow up information.

We also discussed the issue with Sadiq (one of the Strikers is also his constituent) who also agreed to contact the organisation once we brief him properly.

On Monday we learnt from NHHT senior management that its Board have apparently “refused” to even let UNISON speak to them about its concerns and that they support the boycott of requests for mediation with ACAS! If this is true then you have to question why the NHHT Board is apparently so precious that they are not even willing to even listen to their own workforce express concerns that they are being discriminated against and exploited by their senior management. This is amazing and can only further damage the reputation and image of the wider sector in the eyes of many people.

Monday, 29 March 2010

No progress as yet

As yet there has been no real progress concerning talks with NHHT. UNISON Organiser Colin Innis reports ‘CMT cannot make an exact decision on agreeing to meaningful negotiation without first speaking to the Board. Inexplicably - despite the fact that we are in the midst of a major dispute – CMT appears to be unable to speak to its Board outside of a Board meeting. Thus no high level decision on negotiation will be made until after Monday’s (29/03) Board meeting. I am scheduled to meet again with CMT on either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.’

Whilst UNISON and its members remain optimistic about the prospect of future discussions there is growing frustration due to the time that it is taking for talks to materialise. We will keep you posted on all future developments.

You may also be interested to read this highly informative piece by Guardian contributor Dave Hill .