More than 20 members of Unite, employed in Goodlord’s referencing department, began strike action on 22 February over fire and rehire contract changes that resulted in annual pay falling from £24,000 to £18,000.
The original contracts for around half of the striking workers expired during the strike action. As they refused to sign up to the radically diminished terms and conditions Goodlord was offering, the workers were dismissed.
The remaining half of the workers voted to commence strike action over these dismissals and other new matters in a further ballot which closed on 26 April.
The new strikes called for Goodlord to reverse the dismissals, halt its hostile targeting of union members and use of agency labour to undermine the industrial action and award a pay rise for 2021.
On the evening of 19 May, Goodlord dismissed the remaining nine workers, claiming that they had chosen to reject a ‘range of options’ to end the dispute put forward by the company during talks with the conciliation service Acas.
Unite said the workers were within the 12-week protected period provided by the 26 April ballot and were dismissed for an ‘automatically unfair reason’.
The union also refuted Goodlord’s account of the Acas talks, saying that the company refused to negotiate and instead issued an ultimatum for staff to return to work or leave with pay in lieu of notice.
Unite regional officer Steve O’Donnell said: “Unite is considering all our legal options to response to the firing of our members by Goodlord. They were within the 12-week protected period provided by the 26 April 2021 ballot and as such have been dismissed for an automatically unfair reason.
“Goodlord’s leadership has behaved disgracefully from day one of this dispute. They have used the pandemic to opportunistically cut wages by £6,000 and told impacted staff they can survive on the poverty wages by moving out of London and working from home. They have brought in scab workers and hostilely targeted striking staff. They have pretended to join negotiations under Acas and then issued more unacceptable ultimatums.
“When none of these tactics worked, Goodlord fired its workers for having the temerity to push back against wage cuts that would have made living in London all but impossible. I pay tribute to our members for refusing to give into Goodlord’s demands and send an unequivocal message to the company that this fight is far from over.”