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 .

Monday, 22 March 2010

Breaking News...

Notting Hill Housing Trust has agreed to meet with UNISON representatives (led by Colin Inniss - Regional Organiser) on 25 March 2010. This follows a very successful day of action by UNISON members at NHHT on 15 March 2010, with well attended picket lines outside NHHT headquarters in Hammersmith and Presentation offices in Vauxhall. It is our sincere hope that management will now approach negotiations with an open mind and attempt to reach agreement with UNISON members at NHHT. We will keep you posted

Friday, 19 March 2010

CIPD press release

CIPD survey shows workers as likely to have caring responsibilities for a partner, relative, and friend as they are for children, highlighting growing demand for flexibility at work

A survey of 2,000 employees by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows workers are as likely to have caring responsibilities for a partner, relative, and friend as they are for children. Focus on Caring at Work finds a third (34%) of employees have some form of caring responsibilities, with 20% citing children. However, 12% cite relatives, 6% their partner, and 2% a friend.

And the survey also shows there is little difference between the sexes in their caring responsibilities, with 36% of women citing caring responsibilities and 33% of men.

Ben Willmott, CIPD senior public policy adviser, says: "The survey highlights the challenges many employees have in managing what are often a range of caring responsibilities. The proportion of people having to balance work while caring for their partner or spouse, parents, and other relatives will increase as life expectancy continues to rise and as people work longer to save for retirement.

"This is why the CIPD is calling for the right to request flexible working to be extended to all employees, rather than just parents, by 2013. This is not about employers putting the interests of employees before the business, it is just about them seriously considering whether they can accommodate flexible working requests in order to recruit and retain a diverse workforce."

Focusing purely on childcare, 72% of mothers and 43% of fathers have changed how or where they work to play a more active role in their children's upbringing. Of these:

• Almost a third of working parents (31%) report they have worked flexibly to become more active parents
• Twenty-eight per cent have worked shorter hours and 23% have worked from home
• However, sixteen per cent have gone as far as changing their jobs to become a more active parent

Willmott continues: "The survey suggests that the majority of employers are already providing flexible working options to allow working parents to play an active role in the upbringing of their children. Employers that don't provide flexible working options for working parents risk losing valuable employees.

"However, our survey also indicates that employees with other caring responsibilities such as aging or sick parents and partners will increasingly expect the same sort of work-life balance opportunities as working parents."

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Friday, 12 March 2010

Members Meet Minister

On Tuesday 9th March government Housing Minister John Healey met with UNISON Labour Link members including a delegation from Notting Hill Housing Trust. Mr Healey fielded several questions around impending strike action at Notting Hill and was visibly concerned when told of the plight of members working at the trust. Mr Healey was alarmed to hear about the lack of consultation, removal of flexible working and paid carers leave. He emphasised the fundamental importance of employers treating their workers with respect and wished Notting Hill staff good luck in their efforts to be heard. The Notting Hill delegates were heartened to hear the words of support offered by the minister and are glad that he will be monitoring the situation very closely.

Message of support from Dave Prentis - UNISON General Secretary

I would like to offer my full support and solidarity to UNISON members in Notting Hill Housing Trust who are taking strike action on Monday.

Our members in housing associations like Notting Hill work incredibly hard, often for inadequate reward, across the country to provide vital public services in our communities. Notting Hill’s treatment of its own workforce is scandalous – cutting family-friendly benefits which to you are vital, and which don’t cost the organisation much at all.

Notting Hill clearly don’t recognise the clear link between how they treat their staff and the quality of service they provide – or if they do recognise that link, they don’t appear to care about either their staff or their tenants.

Either way, all UNISON has asked for from the beginning has been to sit down with Notting Hill and try to reach an agreement that everyone can sign up to. They have refused all along.

So I salute our members in Notting Hill, who are taking a very brave step, standing up for what they think is right.

I wish you the best of luck.

Monday, 8 March 2010

UNISON National Housing Forum 03/03/10

The UNISON National Housing Forum met on 3 March 2010. It represents housing workers from across the UK, based in local authorities, ALMOS and Housing Associations. The forum was updated on the dispute at Notting Hill Housing Trust, including the reasons for the dispute and the recent resounding ballot result. It expressed its strong support for UNISON members at NHHT and wished them success in their forthcoming industrial action. Forum members were told about the proposed strike date of 15 March 2010 and those who are able to would like to support the picket lines on the day. Forum members have asked to be kept updated and for any Branch bulletins about the industrial action to be forwarded to them via UNISON national officers. They were also provided with details of the blog/twitter feed where up to date information can be found and were asked to contribute to the letter writing campaign to Kate Davies.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Mass Meeting - Friday 26th Febuary - Feedback

Sorry I cannot attend this meeting. The ballot result is fantastic and has shown that UNISON members at NHHT are firm in their resolve. This turnout and vote should bring a reasonable employer back to the negotiating table. If NHHT will not be reasonable you have shown that you are a force to be reckoned with. Fellow UNISON members have been sending messages of support and word is getting around other housing associations. (Do keep an eye on the blog and twitter feed). What is happening now at NHHT may happen at other workplaces in the coming months. We should all be grateful for the efforts of UNISON members at Notting Hill. Good Luck - Letter from UNISON Branch Secretary

There was a mass meeting of Notting Hill members on Friday 26 February at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith. The meeting was very well attended and the speakers positively recieved.
Members voted unanimously for a one day strike on Monday 15 March. UNISON is encouraging staff at Notting Hill to join UNISON and take part in the action. The branch will be issuing advice to members wishing to show solidarity with the Notting Hill members.
Read here for press coverage of the dispute: