Members of Unison union, who work for Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation (Bitmo) in Leeds, took one day of strike action last Monday.
These workers’ contracts were transferred from Leeds City Council in 2004 under the Tupe regulations, which defend conditions. There were promises of good employment practices from Bitmo and Leeds City Council signed agreements to ensure the workers are treated fairly.
Over the last 18 months workers have complained of bullying, management have failed to investigate. Workers have had their contracts changed without agreement.
Bitmo have refused to meet with the elected Unison Convenor, John McDermott, banning him from the employer’s premises. A worker has been on the sick for 12 months with work related stress, but Bitmo have refused to meet if John McDermott accompanies the worker.
John McDermott said, “The workers have had enough of bad treatment. They have experienced or witnessed bullying and their friend has been off sick for a year. The final straw came when a colleague was refused trade union representation at a disciplinary.
“Management refused to meet last week if the workers were represented by me.”
This is the New Labour agenda of outsourcing council functions as part of the “enabling role”. “Freedom” to deliver services is accompanied with freedom to treat staff badly.
More action is planned.