Striking housing workers stage Manchester demo today

Unite logoStriking members of Unite, employed by private contractor Mears and joint venture company Manchester Working are today staging a demonstration outside the offices of Northwards Housing in their dispute over pay differentials of up to £3,500 between workers doing the same work.

The workers, who are on their fourth day of strike action and work on social housing maintenance contracts in Manchester for Northwards Housing, are calling on the housing organisation to intervene and ‘bang heads’ together. They will be protesting from 11.30am at Hexagon Tower, Crumpsall Vale, Manchester M9 8GQ.

An arms-length management organisation (Almo), Northwards Housing manages 13,000 homes in north Manchester for whom the striking workers undertake repairs and maintenance. The workers are on a rolling programme of strikes with walkouts occurring on Monday, Thursday and Friday each week.

Added to the pay differential issue the workers are also concerned about attacks on their conditions by Mears. The company is seeking to introduce a new contract; which seeks to: increase hours, introduce flexible working, requires a greater use of technology, but does not increase pay.

Mears is seeking to introduce a ‘productivity procedure’ which has been labelled a “sackers’ charter” and has been pressurising the workforce into accepting poorer conditions regarding sick pay and vehicle policies.

Unite regional officer Gary Fairclough said: “Northwards Housing is responsible for letting the contracts and has a moral duty to intervene and ensure that Mears and Manchester Working close the pay differentials. Northwards cannot stand idly by as exploitation and injustice occurs on their contracts.

“The demonstration will ensure that bosses at Northwards can no longer pretend they do not know what is happening on their contract and ignore the anger and frustration of the workforce.

“Our members do not take strike action lightly and the scale of this dispute demonstrates the anger of our members.”

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