‘We will work to protect housing association jobs and conditions’

UNISON tells London housing associations planning merger that success of plans relies on ‘efforts of dedicated workforce’

UNISON will be working to ensure that jobs and working conditions are protected as three of London’s largest housing associations announced merger plans.

L&Q, Hyde Group and East Thames housing associations opened talks last Friday on the biggest merger in the sector’s history.

If the talks are successful, the combined group would have a turnover of £1.1bn, be worth more than £30bn and own more than 5% of the English housing association sector’s stock.

The three associations say the merged organisation would be able to build 100,000 new homes across London and the South East – 35,000 more than they could separately.

More than 4,000 workers are employed by the three housing associations and will be affected by the plans.

“We are seeing more and more of these mergers as social landlords try and shore themselves up against an uncertain future,” said UNISON Greater London housing associations branch secretary John Gray.

“Conservative policies like Right to Buy, Pay to Stay and the cut to social rent are forcing the social housing sector into turmoil.”

Mr Gray noted that all UNISON members in London are affected by the capital’s housing crisis, which is just one reason that the union welcomes increased investment in social housing.

“But the three associations must recognise that big does not always mean better and that residents and staff will have real concerns about this proposal.

“Employers must recognise that the success of their plans relies on the efforts of their dedicated workforce.

“UNISON is the union which speaks for workers in East Thames, Hyde, and L&Q and our priority in talks with all three employers will be to ensure that jobs and working conditions are protected.”