Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP has intervened in the long-running Bron Afon housing association industrial dispute, telling the workforce they have his personal support. He has praised the professionalism of housing support workers and commended the valuable role they perform in Torfaen.
Jeremy Corbyn’s involvement comes as support workers organised by UNISON embark on a ninth day of industrial action and the remarks will be seen as a welcome boost on today’s (Wednesday) picket line.
UNISON has described Mr Corbyn’s intervention as extremely significant and the trade union will be using the supportive comments from a high-profile national political figure to put pressure on Bron Afon to resolve the dispute with a fair agreement.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP said,
“I send solidarity to the striking UNISON members at Bron Afon Community Housing on their ninth day of action.
“We know how important you are to the Torfaen community, helping vulnerable service users stay in their homes and receive the support they deserve. I thank you for your dedication and the work you do.
“I urge Bron Afon to direct all its energies to resolving this dispute quickly and satisfactorily, and support the work of local Member of Parliament Nick Thomas-Symonds and local Assembly Member Lynne Neagle in their efforts to bring about a resolution.”
Notes to editors
- Mr Corbyn’s intervention follows the support provided by the local Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symons and Assembly Member Lynne Neagle, both of whom have joined members on the picket line.
- The strike action on Wednesday (23 August), is the last day of a five-day period of strike action and the ninth day of strike action overall.
- Support workers at the not-for-profit organisation, provide assistance to vulnerable people over the age of 50 in their own homes, helping them access benefits and acting as their advocates with housing and financial problems. They provide practical support too to those with mental health issues, addictions and those who have experienced domestic abuse.
- In April the Association issued new contracts to the Supported Living Team which cut salaries by between £1,500 and £3,000 – the overwhelming majority’s salaries were cut by £3,000. Staff have been placed on spot salaries and now earn £20,416.
- The new contracts meant: the service hours increased from 9am-5pm to 8am-8pm, (same working hours, much longer day); an increase in clients from 325 to 450.
- The Supported Living Team was a blueprint for the development of a separate team supporting those under 50 years. The Supported Living Team trained them and yet they earn £7,000 a year less.
- Bron Afon provides affordable housing (as a social landlord), support services to tenants, maintenance and individual care support (not all tenants require assistance).
Alastair Gittins, UNISON press officer 07816 53 83 97