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Thursday 16 Dec 2004

GHA attempt to gag union members condemned

Scotland's housing union, UNISON, today condemned an instruction from the controversial Glasgow Housing Association, that attempts to prevent UNISON members distributing leaflets opposing the GHA's plan to remove all rent collection counters from all their local offices and get rid of 28 cashiers jobs across the city.

The GHA has emailed all its managers telling them to advise staff "...it would be inappropriate for them to distribute this information to tenants at any point as to do so may breach their trust with their employer."

John Wright, UNISON's Senior Steward for Housing said "These are the tactics of the playground bully, and UNISON will not be knuckling under. Everyone accepts that material should not be handed out during staffs working time, or on GHA premises. But to try and stop UNISON members campaigning for their colleagues during a legitimate trade dispute in their own time takes management intimidation to a new level."

UNISON has been running a campaign during the consultation period to ensure that tenants groups, pensioners organisations and people with disabilities are aware of the implications of this service cut, and raise objections with the GHA.

Other organisation like, the Scottish Pensioners Forum, West of Scotland Seniors Forum and the Glasgow Old People's Welfare Association, have also assisted by distributing the leaflets to their members.

Dougie Black, UNISON regional officer for Glasgow City Branch said "We said when the GHA came into being that this removed housing from democratic control. This sort of attitude towards people who disagree with them shows how dangerous that move away from democracy can be. The GHA management are trying to stifle debate about an important cut in their service. The GHA Board meet on Friday to take a decision on this, and it is important that tenants are aware of the implications of the decision.

"The GHA have no legal power to stop union members campaigning on legitimate trade union grounds, and I am surprised that the councillors and other politicians on the GHA are condoning this tactic. If they attempt to take any action against a member distributing union materials in their own time, UNISON will deliver its full support."


For Further Information Please Contact: John Wright(Senior Steward - Glasgow Housing) - 0141 552 7069(br) 0141 274 6597(o) Kim McLachlan (Depute Senior Steward) - 0141 274 6597(o) 07976 506 587(m) Dougie Black (Regional Officer) 0845 355 0845(o) 07968 478 195(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)