Last week’s bid by PropTech referencing firm Goodlord to draw a line under its long-running ‘fire and rehire’ industrial dispute has been scuppered by a trade union.
Unite, which represents some of the workers at the heart of the dispute, is holding a protest tomorrow and says it’s exploring all legal options to fight back against the company.
The protest will be held outside Goodlord’s east London HQ tomorrow at 11am with the union demanding the reinstatement of workers which Goodlord claims have ‘left’ the company.
More than 20 members of Unite, employed in Goodlord’s referencing department, began strike action on February 22 over what the union calls “fire and rehire” contract changes that resulted in annual pay falling from £24,000 to £18,000.
The original contracts for around half of the striking workers expired during the strike action. As they refused to sign up to the radically diminished terms and conditions Goodlord was offering, the workers were dismissed.
A Goodlord statement last week – which we reported here – conspicuously did not use the word “dismissed” and instead said nine staff had “chosen not to return to work.”
Recent strikes at the company have called for Goodlord to reverse the dismissals, halt what Unite describes as “its hostile targeting of union members and use of agency labour to undermine the industrial action,” and award a pay rise for 2021.
Unite says the workers dismissed last week were within the 12-week protected period provided by an earlier ballot and were dismissed for what it calls “an automatically unfair reason.”
The union has also refuted Goodlord’s account of the arbitration talks, saying that the company refused to negotiate and instead issued an ultimatum for staff to return to work or leave with pay in lieu of notice.
Unite regional officer Steve O’Donnell says: “Unite is considering all our legal options to response to the firing of our members by Goodlord. They were within the 12-week protected period provided by the April 26 2021 ballot and as such have been dismissed for an automatically unfair reason.
“Goodlord’s leadership has behaved disgracefully from day one of this dispute. They have used the pandemic to opportunistically cut wages by £6,000 and told impacted staff they can survive on the poverty wages by moving out of London and working from home. They have brought in scab workers and hostilely targeted striking staff. They have pretended to join negotiations under Acas and then issued more unacceptable ultimatums.
“When none of these tactics worked, Goodlord fired its workers for having the temerity to push back against wage cuts that would have made living in London all but impossible. I pay tribute to our members for refusing to give into Goodlord’s demands and send an unequivocal message to the company that this fight is far from over.”
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.