Greenwich housing repairs could face delays as workers vote for strike action

By Jacob Paul

Hundreds of families awaiting housing repairs may face delays as 120 workers have threatened to strike after a new pay system could see them lose £20,000-a-year in wages.

Greenwich housing repairs could be disrupted after 120 carpenters, decorators, electricians and plumbers, who maintain the borough’s housing stock, voted by 98 per cent for strike action.

Unite the union, the UK’s largest trade union, accused Greenwich council of reneging on a previous agreement, acting in bad faith and using Covid-19 as an excuse for the wages’ axe.

A new pay system could see up to £20,000 slashed from workers’ pay packets.

Unite members are on pay scales ranging from £35,000 to £55,000.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “To lose about £20,000-a-year living and working in one of the world’s most expensive cities is totally unacceptable.

“We believe that the council bosses are using Covid-19 as an excuse to implement the new pay scales – and this is an act of bad faith, especially as they reneged on a previous agreement on pay.

“Again, it looks like the public sector workforce is being lined up as the fall guy to pay for Covid-19, while those with links to the no shame Tory establishment pocket millions from the inflated prices paid for vital PPE.”

Unite Greenwich branch secretary Danny Hoggan said: “We have a huge mandate as a result of this vote – the message is very clear. It is time for the council to make a decision.

“The strength of feeling has been demonstrated by the size of the ‘yes’ vote. Our members will not be made to pay the price of Covid-19.”

A spokesman from Greenwich council said: “The Royal of Borough is engaged in very constructive and positive negotiations with all three of our recognised trade unions to improve the old productivity agreement for our repairs staff.

“These were last updated in 2013, and so we are hopeful that we can agree terms that reward good, productive work for staff and the best possible repairs service for the residents of the borough.”

Pictured top: Greenwich Town Hall


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