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Unison members employed as Housing Support Workers at Leeds Federated are taking industrial action in a dispute over pay and grading. Last year, Leeds Fed had told them that they wanted to restructure the service they provide.

By a Unison member

Instead of continuing them in our roles (salary £23,000), they said they wanted to split the role in two. They proposed that the “senior” role (the one which they thought contained the more difficult aspects of our job was to be re-graded – but rather than us being rewarded for concentrating on the harder bits (as they see it), we were expected to take a £3,000 pay cut. Worse still, the ‘junior’ role, those who were charged with doing the less demanding tasks (as Management sees it) were looking at a pay cut of £8,000! This role – which involves carrying out the bulk of face-to-face work with service users is to be rewarded with the staggeringly low salary of only £15,000

The workers object to these cuts not only because they are unfair but also because there is strong signs that the lower rate of pay (£15k/ annum) is the one they eventually want all Housing Workers to be on. They have told management of their suspicions here and management replied that they had considered paying them at the low rate but decided to take it “one step at a time”!

These cuts are nothing less than opportunistic, resulting in poverty pay and will also have a detrimental impact on those who need our services. A striking member told me that there has been subtle bullying to try and put members off from exercising their right to strike.  If they get away with these, it is likely that they will try a similar stunt with other Leeds Fed workers and other employers will attack other housing workers elsewhere in the city.