Socialist Worker

Caretakers’ battle with Leeds North West Homes

Issue No. 2015

A group of caretakers in Leeds are taking industrial action over pay.

The workers are resident and relief caretakers employed by an arms length management organisation (Almo), Leeds North West Homes.

The workers have already struck for one day, on Monday of last week.

From Saturday they plan to refuse to unblock waste shoots and clear landings of abandoned furniture as part of their action.

Gerard Murphy is a Unison union steward representing the 13 caretakers, most of whom live within the housing blocks.

He told Socialist Worker, “We’re on basic pay of £6.02 an hour. We don’t feel that we’re respected for the work we do.

“Some of our work is very unpleasant - people urinate in the lifts and defecate in stairways.

“We have to deal with people at every level - we’re decorators, cleaners, doctors and counsellors to the residents.”

Gerard said that the problems started when housing in Leeds was split into several Almos covering different areas of the city. Almos have been criticised by housing campaigners as a step towards privatisation.

In Leeds it means “caretakers in one area getting £1,000 less than others doing almost identical work 200 yards down the road,” said Gerard.

Unison members say they were told they would have to wait for a job evaluation process before their pay could be reviewed - but that the evaluation appears to be an indefinite process.

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Sat 26 Aug 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2015
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