Industrial action at housing association to start this week

SBHA in Selkirk. Work van.
SBHA in Selkirk. Work van.

Scottish Borders Housing Association’s director of technical services has said that any industrial action by staff will have an impact on tenants.

Alan Vass made the comment after the union Unite announced that members in the maintenance division will implement a work-to-rule for 12 weeks from today (Thursday).

It follows Unite members at SBHA voting in favour of industrial action by just one vote. They rejected strike action by 39 votes to 22.

Tony Trench, regional organiser for Unite, said maintenance staff will return vans to SBHA’s Selkirk headquarters today at the end of their shift, rather than take them home.

This will be repeated by those staff who are working tomorrow, and will continue at the end of each week until November 17.

Mr Trench said: “The staff want to make absolutely clear that their priority is tenants, and that is why they have not voted for a strike.”

On the action to be taken, he added: “This will not affect the emergency service, which will be fully manned. This was done to cause least disruption to tenants.”

But Mr Vass said this week: “Any industrial action does have an impact on the service we can provide, but the management’s job is to minimise the disruption as much as possible and we have done as much as we can to do that.”

Mr Vass added that the association welcomed the decision not to take action that would affect the emergency service for tenants.

An “all-options” review of the maintenance division will be carried out in the coming weeks to explore how efficiency can be increased, following the breakdown of talks between SBHA and Unite over staff starting work on site at 8am.