A SECRET shakeup of Inverclyde’s largest social housing provider is being devised by bosses without informing tenants — and workers are now threatening to strike.
Rent payers served by River Clyde Homes have not been consulted about what is described by one source as a ‘root and branch overhaul’ in how the organisation operates.
Tradesmen within RCH’s direct labour arm — whose duties include emergency repairs — held a union meeting on Monday and are ready to ballot for industrial action imminently.
David McGurk, Unite’s regional officer, told the Telegraph: “We have requested a meeting with the chief executive of RCH, Kevin Scarlett, in order to air the workforce’s deep concerns.
“If RCH does not come back by tomorrow with a date when Mr Scarlett will meet with us then we will be holding a consultative ballot on Monday morning.”
According to the union, an RCH director named as Gary Wilson has drafted a report calling for a major overhaul of property management operations, including changes to employment terms.
However, the precise content of the document and what it proposes is unknown because the housing association has not responded to the union’s request for a copy, it’s claimed.
It is also understood that director Mr Wilson is on long term sick leave from the organisation, but bosses are still pursuing the proposed changes outlined in the report.
Unite’s Mr McGurk said: “We have asked for a copy of the director’s report and we’re still waiting.
“We have put forward a number of concerns already and management have not been clear and concise in their response.
“Our members signed new contracts and terms only last year and they were given a cast iron guarantee that there would be no further changes.”
Mr McGurk added: “We have concerns that even members of the RCH board are maybe being kept in the dark here too and being told what management want them to hear.”
One source said: “There’s a root and branch overhaul happening and tenants and everyone else are not being told about it.”
An RCH spokesman said: “Discussions are underway to develop plans for River Clyde Homes to move towards a group structure.
“The purpose is to improve the quality of services, and ensure efficiency and value for money for customers.
“These plans are not yet finalised.”
The spokesman added: “We have received no notification of proposed strike action from the unions.”
Asked if RCH could explain precisely what the proposed new group structure would be and how it would operate, the spokesman said: “The current status is that proposals are at the discussion stage only.
“Once the proposals are fully developed and finalised full engagement with customers and key stakeholders will take place.”
The spokesman added: “No request has been made to meet with the chief executive.
“As would be expected with any proposed change programme, staff have the opportunity and are encouraged to ask questions and air their concerns.”
Source : GreenockTelegraph