Protests outside CIH conference over LMH redundancies
Union activists protested outside Manchester Central on the first day of the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference today.
Unite members staged the protest against Liverpool Mutual Homes over the redundancies of 12 repairs and maintenance workers last July.
Protestors carried banners calling LMH boss Steve Coffey a ‘fat cat’, in reference to his salary, which last year was £137,500, and accused the 15,000-home landlord of bullying. The workers were among 204 employees to transfer to LMH from contractor Cameron Industrial Services, a subsidiary of Kinetics, on 1 July last year. The workers were expecting to transfer under the TUPE regulations, which protect jobs, pay and conditions.
Cameron Industrial Services, a subsidiary of Kinetics, went into administration on 9 June three weeks before the transfer but LMH offered the majority of the workers fresh contracts.
However, it made 12 of the workers redundant, and Unite argues that they should have stuck to the TUPE agreement. A leaflet distributed by the protestors accused LMH of launching a ‘brutal assault’ against the workforce.
Worker Sid Graves, one of the 12 to lose their job, said LMH had a responsibility to employ the workers as a stock transfer authority which took over responsibility for housing from the council in 2008. Mr Graves said: ‘We should have been transferred.’
The workers have taken LMH to an employment tribunal and are awaiting the result.
Paul Worthington, managing director at LMH subsidiary Housing Maintenance Solutions, said: ‘We employed 200 members of staff who would otherwise have lost their jobs after their previous employer, CIS, entered administration and they were also given full redundancy pay funded by the taxpayer following the company’s collapse.
‘Sadly, we were forced to make some redundancies, but managed to keep it to just 12 posts.
‘Of the 188 jobs we have saved, 100 per cent have voluntarily agreed to work to the new terms and conditions.’
Last January LMH terminated a repairs and maintenance and gas services contract with contractor Kinetics because it did not believe Kinetics was fulfilling its contractual obligations.