Union set to ballot over Stonham offer

Industrial action has moved closer at Stonham, the UK’s largest supported housing group, after Amicus said it would ballot members unhappy about the company’s pay offer.

The trade union is to ballot members on industrial action short of a strike after three-quarters of those who voted in a consultative ballot rejected the company’s offer. Stonham is proposing a 2.55 per cent rise for project workers and those at lower grades and 2.5 per cent for the rest.

But Amicus organiser David Jones hopes to resolve the dispute before action was taken. “We’ve had positive relations with Stonham since 1993,” he said. “This is somewhere new for both of us. We would view industrial action as a failure.”

Stonham had initially offered all staff a 2.5 per cent rise, but Amicus demanded 3.75 per cent.

Stonham chief executive Andy Painton said positions were “entrenched” on both sides but said the company simply could not afford to make a bigger offer because of tight Supporting People funding settlements.

He said he was aware that staff had gone through a tough spell last year when Stonham restructured, cutting management jobs.

“The commitment to our client group and the organisation is unquestionable,” Painton said. “We would love to be able to reward it but we can’t, other than by maintaining the status quo.”

Amicus has 1,100 members among Stonham’s 2,500 staff.

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