Scroll Top

Sanctuary Housing tenant services and treatment of staff linked

Strikes by London repair workers intensify as Sanctuary named in housing ombudsman severe maladministration report.
Sanctuary Picket_cropped

Huge social landlord Sanctuary Housing’s ‘awful’ treatment of staff, which has led to long running strikes by its London repair workers, and its ‘terrible’ tenant service provision are linked, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Tuesday).

Unite said Sanctuary – one Britain biggest housing associations, with assets of £5.6 billion, a surplus of £100 million and a CEO, Craig Moule, on £400,000 a year – behaves like the ‘worst kind of corporate outsourcer’ to its workers and tenants.

Last week, the housing ombudsman named Sanctuary along with other landlords for knowledge and information failings in its latest report on severe maladministration.

Earlier this month, an independent review into 4,000 Sanctuary homes found serious issues surrounding the landlord’s processes for dealing with repairs and complaints. The review was ordered by the housing ombudsman after it issued two ‘severe maladministration’ findings against Sanctuary.

The findings, which included a case where the landlord had disregarded a tradesperson’s warning over acute damp, prompted housing secretary Micheal Gove to write to Mr Moule in December demanding improvements. The issues at Sanctuary are longstanding, with the association dubbed a ‘new landlord from Hell’ by Channel Four’s Dispatches in 2019.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It does not take a genius to see that the longstanding issues over terrible service provision at Sanctuary and its awful treatment of workers are linked. Sanctuary acts like the worst kind of corporate outsourcer than a non-profit organisation: Amassing mountains of cash and paying its CEO a fortune while taking a race-to-the-bottom approach to workers and tenant services.

“That’s why Sanctuary’s London workers are striking. They have the full power of Unite behind them.”

The workers, who provide repair and maintenance services for 10,000 homes, including hundreds in Hackney, escalated strike action this week over longstanding issues surrounding pay, union recognition and terms and conditions.

Until the workers, who have been striking since February, forced Sanctuary into attending meetings at the conciliation service Acas, the landlord point blank refused to deal with unions.

Unite regional officer Matt Freeman said: “Sanctuary is anti-union and is trying to do everything it can to prevent its workers standing up for themselves and does not care about the consequences for either its staff or its tenants.

“It is disgraceful behaviour and will not work – the only way this dispute will be resolved is if Sanctuary engages in good faith negotiations and tables an acceptable offer.”

The workers began fresh strike action last week and will continue striking on 28 and 30 May. Industrial action will intensify if the dispute is not resolved.

Related Posts