Socialist Worker

Housing workers resist pay imposition as activists vow to fight new Tory law

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2505

HCA strikers on the picket line in Manchester

HCA strikers on the picket line in Manchester (Pic: Laila Hasan)


Housing workers in the Unite union struck for 24 hours on Thursday of last week over pay.

The 147 workers, based in Manchester and London, rejected a 1 percent pay rise yet Homes and Communities Association (HCA) bosses tried to impose the deal.

Manchester Unite rep Kerry, spoke to Socialist Worker on the picket line. “This is a way of showing our employer that we will not let them take away our terms and conditions unilaterally,” she said. “We will continue to take action if they fail to come back to the negotiating table.”

Workers think that the pay deal is just the start and that bosses plan to restructure departments. HCA boss Mark Hodgkinson closed 60 stores and made almost 1,000 people redundant at his job as slasher-in-chief at HMV.

Further action is planned for 14 and 15 June. PCS members employed by HCA are also being balloted to join the dispute.

Thanks to Laila Hasan

HOUSING NEWS ROUND-UP

CAMPAIGN

The Kill the Housing Bill (KTHB) campaign met last Saturday to plan resistance to the new Housing and Planning Act.

Some 60 activists discussed the next steps for the campaign. The focus was on building local groups capable of pressuring councils to refuse to implement the Bill.

But the next national event is a demonstration on 18 June in central London. Tanya Murat from Southwark Defend Council Housing (DCH) said that 90 people came to the first KTHB meeting there. The leader of the council spoke on the platform.

The meeting agreed to draft a letter to new Labour London mayor Sadiq Khan calling on him to hold a conference of Labour councillors opposed to the law.

TRAVELLERS

Gypsies and Travellers demonstrated outside parliament last Saturday against the Tories’ new housing and planning law.

It means that Travellers will be forced to move for a fixed period of time each year to claim Traveller status. This means a choice between stable jobs and their identity.

Forcing people to move constantly increases the likelihood of racist attacks.

Lisa Smith from the Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and other Travellers said, “There’s a severe lack of equality. There’s a massive amount of discrimination and racism.

“It influences policymaker’s decisions towards us.”


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