Posted by: Carl Brown05/04/2012
After months of preparation the new social housing regulator launched this week and has already been hit by a potential difficulty.
As Inside Housing reports today, staff transferring across from the Tenant Services Authority to the Homes and Communities Agency are considering strike action.
The union Unite believes staff should receive a one off £500 bonus in recognition of their role in working hard to ease the transition to the HCA with reduced staffing. It is not clear at this stage whether the will is really there among staff to strike or whether the threat of industrial action is a negotiating tactic.
The claim will strike many as unreasonable, and a number of posters on Inside Housing’s website have already parroted the usual lines around ‘they are lucky to have a job’, and that you wouldn’t expect to get a one-off bonus in the private sector (unless you are a high-level banker, obviously).
Personally, I find the argument that we should always level pay and conditions down to those in the private sector, rather than seek ways to improve them across the board, to be misguided and shortsighted. Where does it stop?
However on this occasion, the request for a bonus for staff who are transferring on the same pay and conditions, and sitting in the same offices, does seem a bit bizarre.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the claim, Unite’s actions are an unwelcome distraction for the new regulator, which faces a busy period working out how on earth it is going to regulate a sector growing ever more complex.
From Housing matters
Carl Brown looks at regulation, training, board members, pay and a host of other issues that impact the day to day running of social landlords