Tenant referencing strike threatens to disrupt agencies

12 February 2021 | Renting

Tenant referencing strike threatens to disrupt agencies

A trades union claims that lettings software provider Goodlord is slashing some staff salaries by a quarter – that’s £6,000 per year.

The company, meanwhile, says a small number of its staff remain “dissatisfied” with new contracts.

The Unite union, in a press release, says: “More than 20 Unite members employed in Goodlord’s London-based referencing department, which provides tenant checks for estate agents, will undertake a series of strikes between Monday February 22 and Friday February 26.


“Under the fire and rehire plans, Goodlord’s referencing staff’s pay would plummet from £24,000 to £18,000 – less than the London living wage of £21,157 – while their maternity, holiday and sick pay would also be reduced. 

“Referencing staff are the only workers employed by the company to have been singled out for fire and rehire attacks. 

“Impacted staff have been told by the company that since they are now expected to work permanently from home after their central London office was closed in October, they do not need to live in London. This is despite having been originally employed on the basis that they lived close enough to the office to commute each day.”

The union says it has written to Goodlord’s favoured employment agency to inform them of the industrial action, and it claims the strike will disrupt the PropTech firm’s service to agents. Goodlord, however, has told Letting Agent Today that will not be the case.

Unite regional officer Steve O’Donnell says: “The way these staff are being treated is deplorable. Part of the reason our members were hired was because they live in London. Now, in a transparent attempt to justify wage cuts that would make it impossible to keep their heads above water, the company has told them they don’t need to reside in the city they call home. 

“This is a disgusting way to treat loyal and hardworking employees, especially when the rest of the workforce is being treated reasonably. 

“Our members have been left with no choice but go on strike to fight against these cuts, which would see their pay plummet to well below the real London living wage.”

O’Donnell says Goodlord’s behaviour is “a prime example of a company exploiting the pandemic to unnecessarily erode the pay and conditions of its workers.”

Last evening Goodlord told Letting Agent Today: “In 2020 we took steps to transition a large part of our referencing team from temporary to permanent contracts. 

“After many weeks of dialogue, we’re disheartened that a small number of these colleagues remain dissatisfied with the terms of their new permanent contracts offered. 

“We’re committed to continuing our ongoing dialogue and hope to swiftly reach a conclusion that suits all parties. In the meantime, we’ve taken all necessary measures to ensure our services continue as normal.”

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.