Socialist Worker

Goodlord strikers take on bosses’ fire and rehire plan

by Isabel Ringrose
Issue No. 2750

Theres solid support for the strike among Goodlord workers

There's solid support for the strike among Goodlord workers (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Goodlord strikers in London are upbeat after over a month of a continuous and indefinite strike against bosses’ fire and rehire plans.

Unite union members in the referencing department of the company, which provides estate agents and landlords with software, walked out at the beginning of March. Bosses’ fire and rehire  plan will see the 20 workers lose up to £6,000 annually, plunging them below the London living wage.

Yet Goodlord is signed up to the Living Wage Foundation.

The company is trying to justify the cuts by claiming that, as staff are working remotely, they don’t need to live in London. Striker Kathleen told Socialist Worker, “We want our salaries back. I want to live where I’m employed—not be pushed out of my home.

“A lot of people are struggling to pay rent.”

Kathleen explained that the referencing department of the company are “seen differently”. “Our department used a temp agency to hire zero hour contract employees, so people were in and out,” she said.

“More of us have now been put on fixed term contracts but Goodlord have refused to take us seriously.

“I went from temp to fixed term contract, now shift based. It makes me feel sick. Why are they so determined to push us out? We know they need us.”

Tahmid, another striker, says workers’ are angry about the way management treats workers. “They refuse to acknowledge any faults,” he told Socialist Worker. “I’m striking about the whole situation—the salary cut is the last straw.

“The company says on their social media that they’re a family. But that’s a red flag. It’s social blackmail to make you do more hours.

“If they want me to work more, my salary should reflect that.”

Lockdown 

During lockdown Goodlord furloughed the majority of staff and topped up workers’ wages. But this didn’t apply to the referencing department who were left with only 80 percent of their pay.

Tahmid added, “We know they’re successful, they boast that profits are through the roof.

“They told us at the beginning of the pandemic they had enough funds to keep us all paid for two years. They had a PowerPoint with a huge ‘£10 million’ on to show us.

“The pandemic is opportunism for them. They don’t care about us.”

What’s behind the surge in ‘fire and rehire’ attacks?
What’s behind the surge in ‘fire and rehire’ attacks?
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Scott, who has worked at Goodlord for three years, added, “At the beginning of the pandemic they told us it would be impossible for us to work at home. But now we can work at home, they don’t want to pay us.

“I can’t do 20 percent less work, but they can pay me 20 percent less for the same work.

On the picket last Thursday strikers and their supporters chanted, “When I say Goodlord, you say badlord”.

Members of the Unite Community section’s east London branch came with banners in solidarity.

Unite regional officer Steve O’Donell told Socialist Worker, “We’re pleased with the solidarity from other groups. It’s clear this is a workers' fight.

“Bosses follow the latest trend. First it was zero hour contracts and now it's fire and rehire. They will jump on anything.

“It’s time to take collective action or the bosses will attack time and time again.”

Trade unionists should build solidarity for the Goodlord strikers in their workplaces and union branches. It’s vital the union movement turns the tide on fire and rehire.

Pickets will be held outside Goodlord headquarters on Heneage Street, London, E1 on Tuesday 13 April and Friday 16 April at 11:30am. Messages of support to @unitelondonitc   

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