Housing and the code of Practice on workforce Matters

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2006 Local Government Service Group Conference
24 February 2006

Conference notes that increasing numbers of UNISON members face transfers to private providers and Housing Associations for delivering of social housing. In England this includes Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO’s) and Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) and in England, Scotland and Wales, stock transfers to Housing Associations.

Conference also notes that local authorities are obliged to meet the Decent Homes Standard for their stock by 2010, but that investment can only be attracted if local authorities opt for one of these models. The lack of a level playing field for local authorities to invest directly in council housing means that they are forced to use external models of delivery to attract investment.

Conference is concerned that any changes to the way housing services are provided, are not delivered at the expense of the pay, conditions and pensions of the staff employed, nor based on the principle of a two-tier workforce.

Conference is extremely concerned that housing workers delivering social housing as employees of Housing Associations are not currently covered by the Code of Practice on Workforce Matters.

Conference believes that housing workers should be covered by the Code of Practice on the Two Tier Workforce, as a means of ensuring no less favourable treatment for new starters. The Code of Practice on Workforce Matters should form part of the service specification and conditions for all social housing provision arrangements.

Therefore Conference calls on the Local Government SGE to ensure that:

1)UNISON continues to pursue national recognition agreements and organising strategies with all social housing providers

2)UNISON gathers good practice examples of protection of pay and conditions in the social housing sector

3)Housing workers are included in the Code of Practice and other protective UK mechanisms by lobbying the UK Government and other administrations to ensure this happens

4)Negotiating and organising strategies are developed in the social housing sector to ensure that all housing workers have the same pay, pensions and no less favourable terms and conditions as directly employed local authority housing staff