Knowsley housing workers begin strike action over below inflation pay offers

Housing maintenance workers in Knowsley, Merseyside will start a series of strikes over pay this Friday (1 December), Unite, Britain’s largest union, has confirmed.

The 120 workers employed by Vivark Ltd and Knowsley Housing Trust perform maintenance and repair work on the trust’s social housing properties.

The strike action starts this Friday 1 December with the workforce striking every Monday and Friday (apart from bank holidays) until Monday 19 February 2018. From Friday 1 December until Thursday 22 February 2018, workers will also be undertaking a call out and overtime ban, which will disrupt emergency repairs procedures.

The strike follows the workforce overwhelming rejection of a two per cent pay increase this year after years of pay freezes and other below inflation increases.

During this time the Vivark workforce has also experienced attacks on their terms and conditions, including a reduction in holidays, lower pension entitlement, an increase in working hours and major cuts to sick pay.

Unite regional officer John Sheppard said:

“Unite members at Vivark and Knowsley Housing Trust have said enough is enough they will not allow their pay and conditions to be constantly eroded.”

“Our skilled and dedicated members have seen their pay and conditions cut year on year in real terms and as a result are struggling to make ends meet.”

“The companies involved have failed to enter into sensible negotiations and our members have had no option but to take strike action as a last resort.”

“The strike action will inevitably result in tenants experiencing delays in repairs and maintenance work but this is directly a result of the companies’ actions.”

“The ball is firmly in Vivark and Knowsley Housing Trust’s court, they can still prevent the strikes by returning to the negotiating table and making a fair pay offer.”