A Fair Deal for Tenants and Housing Workers

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2011 Local Government Service Group Conference
23 February 2011
Carried as Amended

This Conference notes that members working in housing face redundancy, job insecurity, attacks on terms and conditions and pay, more stressful jobs and working environments and a renewed threat of privatisation as a direct result of the Conservative-led Government’s economic and housing policies.

Conference further notes:

1)Cuts in housing benefit that will lead to an increase in homelessness, greater housing stress and greater social polarisation

2)Cuts in resources for supporting people are happening as a result of the savage cuts to local government funding

3)Renewed attempts to remove or reduce wardens in sheltered accommodation without regard to employees or service users, who value and rely on the support these vital staff provide

4)Changes to planning legislation have resulted in a loss of 85,000 new homes

5)The attack on security of tenure predicted in the housing motion to the 2010 UNISON Local Government conference through the attempts to introduce ‘insecure tenancies’ and ‘nearly market rents’

Conference notes the threat to jobs and services posed by the top-slicing of Formula Grant to pay for the New Homes Bonus Grant.

Conference therefore calls on the Service Group Executive to:

a)Develop a strategy to address the threat to the jobs, terms and conditions of members working across the housing sector

b)Continue to provide appropriate support to Regions and branches in which local authorities are considering whether to extend contracts with ALMOs. This support should include the analysis of option appraisal reports and business plans and advice on terms and conditions where these are less generous than those available to members employed by the local authority

c)Continue to work to raise the profile and protect the jobs of wardens in sheltered accommodation, including ensuring that service users are made fully aware of the potential threats to the services that they receive

d)Provide advice to branches and Regions working with tenant associations and federations that are campaigning to retain or improve council housing or oppose stock transfer

e)Work with Shelter and other organisations to protect the rights of homeless people and the jobs of UNISON members that deliver a service to them

f)Continue to campaign against the ‘New Homes Bonus’ that is being introduced by the Conservative led Government because it will be financed by reducing formula grant – in other words ‘incentives’ for new housing building will be paid for by cutting jobs from other council services

g)Monitor developments on the HRA review and continue to provide advice and guidance to branches to ensure that any negotiated financial settlement between Government and councils following the Housing Revenue Account review provides adequate resources for council housing staffing, including pension costs, and does not rely on reductions to either staffing levels, pay, conditions or pension rights

h)Promote the case for security of tenure and affordable rents as part of an agenda for public housing based on tenant’s rights, quality public housing services and sustainable communities and oppose attempts to introduce ‘insecure’ tenancies and ‘nearly market rents

i)Continue to work with Defend Council Housing