Unite the union has today (18 February) called on the board of Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA) to stop changes to long-standing agreements on pay and terms and conditions. The trade union has warned that if the changes go ahead then this will lead to an industrial action ballot involving its craft membership at the SBHA. The current dispute involves over 70 workers in property services.

The SBHA Board is scheduled to meet on 20 February to approve new working arrangements. In advance of the meeting Unite has written to all members of the board calling on them to stop these reckless plans. The union is also legally exploring whether SBHA’s threat to impose changes could constitute unlawful inducements for the purposes of undermining the existing collective bargaining agreement. If legal action by the union was to prove successful it could potentially cost SBHA more than £250,000 in penalties. If changes are approved by the SBHA board then management are threatening to impose the contractual changes from 1 April.

Unite regional industrial officer Willie Thomson said: “Unite’s craft membership in the SBHA are incandescent at the proposals to impose new contracts. If these changes are unchallenged then our skilled members who fix and maintain social housing in the Scottish Borders will lose their collective voice at work. We believe that these threats from SBHA management are a slap in the face to our hard working members, many of whom have given years of loyal service to their employer and SBHA tenants.

“The outrageous threat to impose these changes through potential inducements risks a high financial bill for the SHBA. Our members have made clear their opposition and resolve crystal clear, and they are prepared to fight this all the way. If an industrial action ballot is successful then the blame will lie squarely at the feet of the SBHA Board.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.