Union poised to ballot SBHA staff on industrial action

Scottish Borders Housing Association in Selkirk.

Scottish Borders Housing Association in Selkirk.

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Employees in SBHA’s maintenance division will be balloted on industrial action as the Unite union and association continue to try to resolve an ongoing dispute.

Regional Unite organiser Tony Trench confirmed yesterday, Thursday, that ballot papers will go out to around 90 members next week and will close on August 1.

He added that if the members vote in favour of industrial action discussions will then take place regarding what form this would take.

Both parties have told the Wee Paper that they are open to continuing discussions in the meantime, with SBHA’s director of technical services, Alan Vass, adding that the association still planned to put proposals on the table at a meeting on Monday, should it go ahead.

The dispute centres on SBHA wanting staff in its maintenance division to start work on site at 8am, rather than leave their homes at that time.

That had been an agreement reached with staff following the closure of local depots five years ago.

However, the housing associated are aiming to take on more external contracts and believe making the service more efficient will help that process.

Last week, Mr Vass said that more external work would likely lead to an increase in jobs within the maintenance division and more job security for those already employed.

He added that SBHA was prepared to make concessions in return for the change of terms and conditions.

Mr Trench said Unite had again called for a meeting with the full SBHA board to discuss the matter.

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