Homes and Communities Agency workers strike as bosses suggest pay review that will take two years to complete

Unite members employed at the Homes and Communities Agency today begin a three-day strike in a dispute over pay.

The staff at the agency, which comprises Homes England and the Regulator of Social Housing, have suffered years of pay freezes and below inflation pay increases, due to the government’s austerity measures which have resulted in them being thousands of pounds poorer in real terms.

Despite the pay freezes for staff the agency has found funding to make several high-paid senior appointments. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in the gap between the highest and lowest paid staff at the agency. The dispute also concerns the agency’s failure to tackle the gender pay gap.

Despite attempts by Unite to resolve the dispute, via negotiation the HCA management have refused to put anything on the table which goes beyond the government’s guidance of a 1-1.5% pay award. Instead they have tried to kick the issue into the long grass by offering a pay review, which will take two years to report.

Unite regional officer Adam Lambert said: “Unite members are taking strike action as an absolute last resort as management has refused to listen to our concerns and has failed to enter into meaningful negotiations.

“After a decade of falling living standards a proposal for a pay review is far too little too late. Our members will not accept further real terms pay cuts.

“Nor are they prepared to wait another two years before the HCA even begins to start tackling the gender pay gap.

“It is essential that the HCA’s management understands the strength of feeling among staff, returns to the negotiating table as quickly as possible and puts forward a realistic pay offer.”

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