Socialist Worker

Fury after Goodlord strikers sacked for fighting fire and rehire

by Isabel Ringrose
Issue No. 2757

Demonstrating on Tuesday

Demonstrating on Tuesday (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Some 80 trade unionists showed their solid support on Tuesday for the Goodlord strikers who have been fired.

Bosses at the property services firm in London ruthlessly sacked workers from their referencing department last Wednesday for striking against fire and rehire plans.

The original contracts for around half of the striking workers expired during the strike.

The remaining half of the workers voted to continue striking in a further ballot that closed on 26 April.

All nine workers have now been dismissed, despite talks between the bosses, Acas and union officials.

Striker Tahmid told Socialist Worker his relationship with the company was “toxic”.

“We’ve been cut off and fired in the middle of a pandemic with no other source of income.”

Stubborn

Tahmid added, “The unfair dismissal isn’t about them not having the money—it’s about image. They don’t want to look weak, they’re stubborn and care about ego and pride.

“It’s a boys’ club. They have no shame—it’s dire. We’re not going to let this go.”

Kathleen, who has also been sacked by the company, added, “Everyone knows now what they’re capable of. Goodlord doesn’t care about young workers.”

The strikers, in the Unite union, have been out for 13 weeks against plans to cut their annual pay by £6,000—which will see their wages fall below the London living wage.

Talks with the company’s HR department were also due to take place today.

Outside protesters chanted, “What’s disgusting? Union busting”, “You say Goodlord, I say badlord” and “Shame on you”.

Scott, who also worked in Goodlord’s referencing department, told the protest the strikers are “amazed at the solidarity they’ve received.”

“Goodlord, for the sake of saving a few pennies have flouted the law to get rid of a strike. I say those people are crooks and criminals.

“We want to send a message to all employers that this isn’t acceptable,” he said.

There is strong support for the Goodlord resistance

There is strong support for the Goodlord resistance (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Scott explained that their demands “would cost less than what Goodlord are spending trying to suppress union action.”

“They are willing to avoid the union,” he added. “What are they scared might come out?”

After the protest moved to the courtyard in front of the Goodlord headquarters, the company called the police who moved the protest back onto the street.

This was met with cries of “Who protects the bosses? Police protect the bosses.”

Unite union regional officer Steve O’Donnell told the crowd the strikers had suffered harassment and bullying from management since being on strike.

Scab

“Goodlord has used scab labour to cover the work of the strikers,” Steve explained.

“They haven’t made any sensible proposals. Their action was to sack our members. We’re going to keep coming after them.”

What’s behind the surge in ‘fire and rehire’ attacks?
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And Unite London and Eastern regional secretary Pete Kavanagh slammed Goodlord’s actions as “shameful”.

Kavanagh said they’re not the only employers using fire and rehire, “but of all the excuses I’ve heard this is the most despicable.”

Workers were told they were no longer going to be paid the London Living Wage because the pandemic meant they could work from home.

Kavanagh warned that as furlough ends “employers up and down the country will look to the same excuses to squeeze pennies out of the workers who make their profits.”

“We cannot allow the government and employers to use fire and rehire on the back of the pandemic,” he said.

Callum was also striking and has been sacked. He told Socialist Worker, “I’ve been dealing with the bosses in talks now for six months—I’m hoping a court fight is the end.

“In terms of dealing with the employer, this is the bullshit we’ve had to put up with everyday—even when we were at work. We’re not going to give in.”

The strikers are now planning protests outside the offices of Goodlord’s clients and offices connected to the bosses. They need full support in their upcoming battles.

Unite must not allow these bosses to get away with this assault.

Tweet messages of support to @unitelondonitc Protests on Wednesday 26 May 11am, LiFE Residential South Bank Estate Agents, 252 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PD. And Thursday 27 May 8:30am, Nutmeg Vauxhall, 2 Vox Studios, 1-45 Durham Street, London SE11 5JH

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