Maintenance staff at Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA) will implement a work-to-rule after voting for industrial action short of striking.
The ballot of Unite members saw 61 papers returned, with 31 in favour of such a measure and 30 against. A vote on strike action went 39-22 against.
Tony Trench, regional organiser for Unite, told The Wee Paper this week that staff would return their vans to SBHA’s Selkirk headquarters next Thursday afternoon at the end of their shift and collect them when they return to work as usual on the following Monday.
This will be repeated every week, but Mr Trench said there was potential for the industrial action to be “ramped up”.
Mr Trench said: “The staff want to make absolutely clear that their priority is tenants, and that is why they have not voted for a strike.”
On the action to be taken, Mr Trench said: “This will not affect the emergency service, which will be fully manned.
“This was done to cause least disruption to tenants.”
Alan Vass, director of technical services for SBHA, told us: “Regardless of what Unite say, any industrial action will have an impact on tenants. However, we will ensure that disruption to tenants is minimised, once we are formally notified of the action to be taken.”
Mr Vass added: “The need for change still stands and the SBHA board have requested a full review of the maintenance division.”
He said “all options” would be explored in the review to see how efficiency within the division could be increased, adding that it was “unhelpful” of Unite not to have accepted the proposals put forward during negotiations.
On those proposals, Mr Vass said: “It was a win-win scenario for SBHA and the maintenance division staff.”
He added: “It is unfortunate that Unite wished to play this out in the media, as they have done throughout the whole negotiation process.
“There will be no further incentives produced and negotiations on this matter have now come to a close.”