Councillors express concern over social landlord's sacking of union rep
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government
Councillors express concern over social landlord's sacking of union repImage: Housing via Shutterstock
Islington Council's councillors have voted unanimously to express concern at the sacking of a union rep by social landlord One Housing Group.
Cllr James Murray proposed the emergency motion at full council after OHG dismissed Unite union rep Bryan Kennedy last month.
Unite has expressed concern that Mr Kennedy has been victimised for his role as a union rep, claiming he was suspended immediately before presenting a new pay claim.
In his letter to OHG, cllr Murray wrote: "Last year, we in Islington raised our concerns with you over One Housing Group’s plans to cut frontline care workers’ pay, despite having no plans to review senior management salaries. I, and other councillors, supported workers in their decision to take industrial action to oppose these plans.
"More recently, we have been very concerned that Bryan Kennedy, a Unite Workplace Convenor representing members at One Housing, was suspended from his job – and sacked on June 17th. We are very concerned about the way he has been treated and the signal that his dismissal sends about One Housing’s relationship with employee representatives.
"At a full meeting of Islington Council last week, councillors voted unanimously to support me writing to you to express our severe concerns over the treatment of Mr Kennedy. With the backing of all my fellow councillors, I would urge you to re-consider your position, and to ask for reassurance that you will protect staff pay, and terms and conditions in the future."
Unite branch chair Paul Kershaw said: "OHG have written to staff saying they would not normally choose to respond to Unite in order not to "dignify" them. We have raised very serious concerns. This high handed dictatorial approach is inappropriate and is not acceptable to our members."
In June, OHG members of Unite took four days of strike action in protest at Mr Kennedy's dismissal.
A spokesman for OHG said: “We were surprised to hear of the recent motion at Islington Council and wrote to cllr Murray and the leader of the council last week in response to cllr Murray’s letter.
"We are keen to have the opportunity to explain our side of the dispute to Islington Council and are confident that this would reassure council members that we are acting in the best interest of our customers and staff. We are awaiting a response.”