Agents reliant on Goodlord’s products face potential disruption with workers at the letting software provider poised to take strike action because they claim their employer is attempting to slash their salaries by up to £6,000, Unite, the union, has warned.
At least 14 Unite members employed in Goodlord’s London-based referencing department, which provides tenant checks for a number of agents, will undertake a series of strikes between Monday 22 February and Friday 26 February.
Under what Unite claim to be ‘fire and rehire’ plans, Goodlord’s referencing staff say that their pay would drop 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 the alleged ‘fire and rehire’ attacks, according to the union.
Impacted staff say that they 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, it is claimed.
Goodlord provides services for a number of estate agents in London, including Winkworth, Best Estate Agents, Andrews and Featherstone Leigh.
Unite has written to Goodlord’s favoured employment agency, Tempfair Ltd, to inform them of the industrial action and how it pertains to their lawful obligation not to provide temporary staff to cover roles usually carried out by striking workers.
Unite regional officer Steve O’Donnell commented: “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.
“It is unfortunate that this industrial action will impact Goodlord’s services to its estate agent clients, which includes Winkworth. However, I am sure these clients would agree that Goodlord’s staff cannot roll over and accept pay cuts that will plunge many into penury.
“Goodlord’s behaviour is a prime example of a company exploiting the pandemic to unnecessarily erode the pay and conditions of its workers. Our members are absolutely clear that they will not back down, and they have the full support of Unite behind them.
“We urge the company to drop these plans and return to the negotiating table to find a solution that all parties can accept.”
In response, Goodlord provided EYE with the following statement: “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.”