Goodlord staff poised for strike action that could disrupt services for agents

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.”

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34 Comments

  1. JordanBrooks88

    Another ‘game changer’  that promises the world, gets investment but never makes a profit. Looks like the writing might be on the wall.
     
    I feel for the staff and will be avoiding them and Vouch now for referencing, and would encourage others to do the same  – disgusting way to treat your employees

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    1. jsmcr

      Out of interest, why avoid vouch?

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      1. JordanBrooks88

        Same company

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        1. NotAGuru71

          Not same Company! VOUCH are independent!

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          1. KByfield04

            Used to be- Goodlord acquired them last year.

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    2. Eyereaderturnedposter12

      There is something of an obvious contradiction with, on the one hand saying that you sympathise with the staff…and on the other suggesting that people “avoid” these firms…
       

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      1. JordanBrooks88

        How so? I hope the staff leave and find better jobs elsewhere, rather than any duty to line the pockets of a company that treats its staff this way

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  2. Robert_May

    Good lord!!!! (embarrassed for them emoticon)

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  3. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    Travelling between offices over the course of last several months, I’ve seen several Unite protests, taking place outside of various firms/institutions.

    Is it unfortunate to have to lose staff/reduce costs?…yes, of course it is.

    Have the measures imposed by the Government throughout the pandemic severely affected the economy, and thus the ability to maintain revenue and staffing levels across almost all industries?…yes, of course they have.

    As unpalatable as it is, the reality for many companies, is a stark one.

    I have deep and heartfelt sympathy for anyone and everyone affected by this Government’s abject failure to consider the wide ranging implications of their mismanagement (deliberate or otherwise) of the country and the economy, over the past 12 months.

     

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    1. Client1st

      Wow. The biggest economic effort world beating vaccination stamp duty holiday furlough scheme…. what else do you want.

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      1. Whaley

        Maybe not also one of the worst  death rates in the world after debacle after debacle ?

        the vaccination effort whilst welcome very much a case of after the stable door has been closed.

        hardly asking for jet packs is it..?

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        1. ARC

          Is that the vaccination roll out that has seen more people receive it as percentage of population than any other country in the world? But why let facts get in the way of left wing clap trap, keep that nonsense for your twitter feed Simon.

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      2. Eyereaderturnedposter12

        Client1st,
        Agreed, we have been “world beating”… although I suspect our sentiments as to why, are diametrically opposed.

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      3. Robert_May

        “what else do you want?” Could I politely request a ban on  non essential regional travel?
         
        We are now Covid suppressed – zero cases because lockdown has be long enough to see off infections  imported to the area from tiers 3 and 4 by visitors.
         
        Next week is half term and the big fear is we will see new cases introduced to the area.

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        1. Chip Wiffler

          You’ve got a boat, Robert.  Pop your foil hat on and sail away…….. 🙂

           

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          1. Robert_May

              Coastal Covid- Covid bubbles centred on the holiday hotspots here are a documented thing. We had  very few cases until lockdown 1 was lifted and we only returned to those low levels once regional travel was tightened down and policed.
             

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            1. Chip Wiffler

              I know, I was being facetious 😉

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              1. Robert_May

                Given the quality of the initial visitors I think you mean faecesous. The  public toilets, pubs and cafes were closed so the visitors were emptying their bladders and bowels wherever they thought no-one was watching; lanes, lay-bys, sand dunes and people’s gardens

                 

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    2. JW

      Unnecessary politic comment.

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    3. jan - byers

      Yes they have done nothing at all to help – do you think there is money tree – joker

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      1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

        I have two words for you Jan…

        Stockholm Syndrome

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    4. KByfield04

      The property market has escaped lightly in the pandemic and whilst rents have been affected (+/- depending on area) the volume has altered very little so transactions for suppliers like this should have remained very similar- in fact, they have acquired new clients during this time so they should have increased.

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  4. dave_d

    Doesn’t surprise me.

    I called them twice last year as a new customer, no return call on both occasions.. usually by that point I wouldn’t bother but actually went to the trouble of emailing them.. not even a return email or call – needless to say I gave up trying to become one of their customers.

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    1. KW

      Sounds then like they can’t meet the demand, not enough staff to deal with enquiries? or just poor service? Maybe it goes deeper and they are not valuing their staff.

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      1. JWVW

        They are a tech company. the whole point about tech is to reduce staff and proper interaction with customers to a minimum….

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  5. KW

    I have a dear friend who works for a national/global law firm and they recently went through similar whereby a huge number of staff (at the grass roots level only I might add) were given notice in January and then asked to re-apply for their jobs. Those who were unsuccessful were then able to apply for new jobs in the company. Some lost their jobs entirely as a result whilst others were re-employed. My friend applied for her own job of 10 years, was unsuccessful, then went after one of the new jobs and was successful. However it was lower pay yet oddly about 80% same as her old role with a few small changes.

    What appears to be common in this situation and Goodlord’s is it seems to be those at the lower end of the pay scale affected by this, the ones that can least afford the drop in pay. How can anyone survive on £18k and more so in London? Worst still if they are the sole breadwinner? It would have been fairer to make a cut across the board starting with the chiefs as a drop in their pay would not impact as badly as it would on someone on £24k.

    Are these companies using the pandemic as an excuse to cut overheads? If Goodlord are struggling then maybe they are doing this as a last resort to save people’s jobs, who knows. But without knowing their figures its hard to tell.

     

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  6. Chip Wiffler

    It’s astonishing that they’re in this position.  I met the founders right at the beginning (one of whom left early on) – they had a great vision and have built some half decent technology.  The thing that astonished me at the time was the location.  Why build a people heavy business in the centre of London from scratch?  How many ‘proptech gamechangers’ have launched with a fanfair alongside a trendy London address, to then quietly disappear in to a mist of failure?

    If the pandemic has shown us anything at all, it’s that we can definitely work from anywhere – no need to pander to investors who’s egos require to see shiny offices, or a small regiment of beardy hipsters ‘hanging out’ at the office coffee bar.

    I wish them all the best and suspect that a knight in RM or ZPG coloured armour may be their ultimate fate.

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    1. KW

      Agree, it seems to be a trend with the proptech companies. Look at Boomin, Homesearch and some of the others who were all banging on about how big their team was as if trying to impress us in some way. The problem is as you say, they get investors, huge cash injection, spend it on fancy premises, huge tech teams, big name hires and so on.
      Once the honeymoon period is over, they are left with massive ongoing overheads, investors to satisfy and guess what, someone has to foot the bill… Wonder who that might be?

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  7. Andy Halstead

    My dislike of this outfit is well documented. Building a sustainable business requires integrity. Team members and customers are everything, mistreat either at your peril. Anyone can ‘disrupt’ and yes it causes short term damage to well established, customer-oriented businesses. [Sentence removed as it breached posting rules] People cannot afford to be treated in this way, life is tough enough, especially right now. A very sad state of affairs, the management should get a grip, how could they allow things to go this far……….

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  8. CharlieLondon01

    It does make me laugh, this shows their priorities are so wrong, and not focused on their customer’s needs.

    Referencing is key to ensuring that a letting agent gets the best tenants for your Landlord.

    Anything that stops that, is a potential disaster in waiting.

    You get what you pay for, and this suggests they are cutting costs in completely the wrong place,

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  9. smile please

    I have seen in recent weeks a number of agents dis-satisfied with current service GoodLord provide ….. I guess we know why now.

    Pretty shocking, how to destroy staff moral in an instant.

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    1. Andy Halstead

      Gerald Ratner comes to mind

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  10. Woodentop

    It has always been the case of “survival of the fittest”.  
     
    In business, if you do not have contingency planning and there is a blip you will struggle to survive. Who doesn’t know this? Some will survive, others will go through hell and others will succumb. This pandemic has highlighted those that didn’t bother or business set-up is such that everything is cut to the cheap, surviving from month to month while the good times role. This isn’t a blip!  
     
    No-one foresaw the pandemic would have such a devastating impact on society around the globe but here we are. Consumers have also contributed to the demise of business’s by the new norm of ‘Cheap’ is what they want, “if you don’t offer it, I will go to someone who will”. Stupidly so many cheap disruptors jumped at the chance and fuelled the situation for many years. Whatever happened to the generation of ‘pay cheap you get monkeys, you pay for quality’. Look at just about all the cheap disruptors that have been and gone in our industry and only ones left are propped up by other peoples money and once that gravey train stops ……… well bye, bye.  
     
    If a business is set-up and always running on fuel vapour, it is the ground staff that is first for the chopping block and not of their doing but suffer the misery. People have a long memory and once this pandemic is over, many will not forget who did what.

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    1. Andy Halstead

      spot on.

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