The ArgusCouncil contractor set to cut jobs (From The Argus)

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Council contractor set to cut jobs

The Argus: Council contractor Mears set to cut jobs Council contractor Mears set to cut jobs

Unions have warned that council tenants will have to wait longer for work carried out on their homes if planned redundancies at local authority contractors go ahead.

Brighton and Hove City Council's housing repair contractor Mears have confirmed to The Argus that they are looking to make more than a fifth of their planned maintenance staff redundant.

The firm said the redundancies were part of a restructuring following the successful completion of the Decent Homes standard.

But union bosses have claimed staff are already overworked and that any cuts to the workforce would impact on the service that tenants received.

The maintenance firm will see 17 roles put at risk with seven posts from the team of 34 employees set to go.

The cuts are set to affect staff in surveying, admin and management roles.

The firm has said that the restructuring is within their planned works team and so won't affect tenant repairs which are carried out by a separate team.

Union leaders claim that the redundancies were being made without proper consultation or notice - an accusation that is denied by Mears.

GMB reps said that two members of staff had already left in the past fortnight because of the uncertainty surrounding their jobs.

Mark Turner, GMB branch secretary, said: “This is happening without any consultation with unions.

“Mears are trying to circumvent the unions and not cooperating with us.

“There is already so much work they are having trouble to carry it all out at the moment.

“These changes will have an effect on service delivery.”

Gary Lester, managing director: "During the first four years of its partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council, Mears undertook large scale refurbishments on a city wide programme of planned improvements to ensure all social homes met the Decent Homes standard.

“Following the successful completion of this programme, on time and within budget, Mears needs to review staffing structures to ensure that they align with the priorities of the next six years of its partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council.

"We never take a decision to restructure lightly and consultation with staff is at a very early stage.

“We are committed to working with the unions to keep job losses to a minimum but this must be balanced with ensuring best value for residents and tenants and the delivery of a first rate service across Brighton and Hove."

Comments (23)

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8:27am Thu 3 Apr 14

Can this be says...

What does the local Council's contract with Mears say? Can it be met with reduced staff? If not and Mears plan to go ahead with reduced staff then presumably they will have to pay to get out of their contract and new tenders can be invited from people who can.
What does the local Council's contract with Mears say? Can it be met with reduced staff? If not and Mears plan to go ahead with reduced staff then presumably they will have to pay to get out of their contract and new tenders can be invited from people who can. Can this be
  • Score: 14

9:12am Thu 3 Apr 14

Hove Actually says...

completion of the Decent Homes standard............
.........Really
I seem to remember that they were going to have to sell off all the council houses as most were unfit to live in and here we are a year or too later and the jobs done.
Sounds like this is more about profit than decent homes
completion of the Decent Homes standard............ .........Really I seem to remember that they were going to have to sell off all the council houses as most were unfit to live in and here we are a year or too later and the jobs done. Sounds like this is more about profit than decent homes Hove Actually
  • Score: 13

9:18am Thu 3 Apr 14

pachallis says...

I'd like to understand why the GMB think this is anything to do with them or the council?

Mears provide a service to the council. The amount of work that Mears has (i.e income) is reducing so they require less staff. End of!

Mears seem to be trying to get rid of admin staff rather than real workers which is a normal target for productivity improvements and cost savings.

This is what happens in the real world in private business.

I suppose, though, that the GMB management have to justify the dues received from the workers.
I'd like to understand why the GMB think this is anything to do with them or the council? Mears provide a service to the council. The amount of work that Mears has (i.e income) is reducing so they require less staff. End of! Mears seem to be trying to get rid of admin staff rather than real workers which is a normal target for productivity improvements and cost savings. This is what happens in the real world in private business. I suppose, though, that the GMB management have to justify the dues received from the workers. pachallis
  • Score: 5

9:27am Thu 3 Apr 14

Kawasaki998 says...

Mears have NOT completed the Decent Homes standard. In North Whitehawk we have bathrooms that's are 50 years old and never been touched by the Council just because we had a new kitchen many years ago we are not entitled to having our bathroom done. Now we know why they have closed our office in Whitehawk without any exclamation as to why. We have backed Mears for the last 6 years even having our own Neighbourhood meetings but suddenly closed the office without even telling us. Are Mears going to the wall I wouldn't be surprised as they have been going down hill for ages. Lets hope the next firm who wants to take over is a lot better
Mears have NOT completed the Decent Homes standard. In North Whitehawk we have bathrooms that's are 50 years old and never been touched by the Council just because we had a new kitchen many years ago we are not entitled to having our bathroom done. Now we know why they have closed our office in Whitehawk without any exclamation as to why. We have backed Mears for the last 6 years even having our own Neighbourhood meetings but suddenly closed the office without even telling us. Are Mears going to the wall I wouldn't be surprised as they have been going down hill for ages. Lets hope the next firm who wants to take over is a lot better Kawasaki998
  • Score: 10

9:28am Thu 3 Apr 14

Hollysmalls says...

Wasn't there a story in the argus the other day about an uninhabitable flat?

The tennant was moved out as it was not fit for human habitation.

Decent homes eh? It's all about the monies, monies, monies
Wasn't there a story in the argus the other day about an uninhabitable flat? The tennant was moved out as it was not fit for human habitation. Decent homes eh? It's all about the monies, monies, monies Hollysmalls
  • Score: 16

9:39am Thu 3 Apr 14

Hollysmalls says...

Here it is

http://www.theargus.
co.uk/news/11072004.
Brighton_family_stuc
k_for_months_in_hous
e__unfit_for_habitat
ion_/
Here it is http://www.theargus. co.uk/news/11072004. Brighton_family_stuc k_for_months_in_hous e__unfit_for_habitat ion_/ Hollysmalls
  • Score: 10

9:41am Thu 3 Apr 14

Canon man says...

When you ring mears for a repair to your council home, you wait on the telephone forever to speak to someone, then you wait forever for someone to come out and take photos and then say I will have to report back to the office, then a week later someone else arrives to do the same thing.......it then goes quiet for a month and then someone turns up to take photos and report to the office, after this a supervisor turns up to look at what everyone else has looked at ( god alone knows how much all these visits cost) and then if you are really really lucky a date is set for the work to be carried out......if they show up at all!!!!
Mears offer an awful service to council tenants, the right hand never seems to know what the left hand is doing and it's costing us as council tenants money, after all does it really take, 5 visits, 45 photos, 5 staff members (not including the rude office staff at the end of the phone) and numerous phone calls to mears to get something / anything done in your house and they are £200 million or so for this shoddy service our council should be ashamed of themselves and deal with this firm once and for all as it will soon be voting time again!!
When you ring mears for a repair to your council home, you wait on the telephone forever to speak to someone, then you wait forever for someone to come out and take photos and then say I will have to report back to the office, then a week later someone else arrives to do the same thing.......it then goes quiet for a month and then someone turns up to take photos and report to the office, after this a supervisor turns up to look at what everyone else has looked at ( god alone knows how much all these visits cost) and then if you are really really lucky a date is set for the work to be carried out......if they show up at all!!!! Mears offer an awful service to council tenants, the right hand never seems to know what the left hand is doing and it's costing us as council tenants money, after all does it really take, 5 visits, 45 photos, 5 staff members (not including the rude office staff at the end of the phone) and numerous phone calls to mears to get something / anything done in your house and they are £200 million or so for this shoddy service our council should be ashamed of themselves and deal with this firm once and for all as it will soon be voting time again!! Canon man
  • Score: 14

9:56am Thu 3 Apr 14

Morpheus says...

Judging by the number of Mears vans than never seem to move from the same parking place there are a lot of people working for them who are doing very little.
Judging by the number of Mears vans than never seem to move from the same parking place there are a lot of people working for them who are doing very little. Morpheus
  • Score: 2

10:28am Thu 3 Apr 14

Roundbill says...

It's ironic that Gary Lester's comment is published the day after the council announce an initiative to train their own staff to write in plain English.
It's ironic that Gary Lester's comment is published the day after the council announce an initiative to train their own staff to write in plain English. Roundbill
  • Score: 18

10:51am Thu 3 Apr 14

Charms_On_Charm says...

I could be made redundant by Mears in the next couple of months! As much as its great the Argus has paid attention, the writers really need to get their facts right before writing such poor and incorrect articles.
I could be made redundant by Mears in the next couple of months! As much as its great the Argus has paid attention, the writers really need to get their facts right before writing such poor and incorrect articles. Charms_On_Charm
  • Score: 0

11:13am Thu 3 Apr 14

Andy R says...

pachallis wrote:
I'd like to understand why the GMB think this is anything to do with them or the council?

Mears provide a service to the council. The amount of work that Mears has (i.e income) is reducing so they require less staff. End of!

Mears seem to be trying to get rid of admin staff rather than real workers which is a normal target for productivity improvements and cost savings.

This is what happens in the real world in private business.

I suppose, though, that the GMB management have to justify the dues received from the workers.
"I suppose, though, that the GMB management have to justify the dues received from the workers." Er...yes....by doing their jobs - protecting those of their members! What would you expect a union to do?

Contrary to the myth you're trying to propagate, unions operate "in the real world in private business", securing improvements in terms and conditions, sometimes through strike action when necessary.
[quote][p][bold]pachallis[/bold] wrote: I'd like to understand why the GMB think this is anything to do with them or the council? Mears provide a service to the council. The amount of work that Mears has (i.e income) is reducing so they require less staff. End of! Mears seem to be trying to get rid of admin staff rather than real workers which is a normal target for productivity improvements and cost savings. This is what happens in the real world in private business. I suppose, though, that the GMB management have to justify the dues received from the workers.[/p][/quote]"I suppose, though, that the GMB management have to justify the dues received from the workers." Er...yes....by doing their jobs - protecting those of their members! What would you expect a union to do? Contrary to the myth you're trying to propagate, unions operate "in the real world in private business", securing improvements in terms and conditions, sometimes through strike action when necessary. Andy R
  • Score: 4

11:50am Thu 3 Apr 14

Andy R says...

Oh...and it's got everything to do with the GMB. They're a recognised trade union at Mears and therefore have a legal right to be consulted about changes and to negotiate.
Oh...and it's got everything to do with the GMB. They're a recognised trade union at Mears and therefore have a legal right to be consulted about changes and to negotiate. Andy R
  • Score: 3

12:11pm Thu 3 Apr 14

pachallis says...

Andy R wrote:
Oh...and it's got everything to do with the GMB. They're a recognised trade union at Mears and therefore have a legal right to be consulted about changes and to negotiate.
@Andy R - Sorry - I'm probably heavily biased against unions after what has happened at CityClean when they seem to control it rather than management.

I agree that unions have the right to be consulted, as do the staff themselves, and if Mears have not discussed this with the them then they are probably in the wrong.

However, IMHO, at the end of the day it is the right of the company, rather than the unions, to decide on how it is run,

If a company really has to shed jobs to stay profitable then both staff and unions who represent them need to appreciate this and not expect 'jobs for life'. This is the same in any other public company these days where jobs, sometimes, have to be cut. You then have the difficult task of deciding who should go.

Would the union help in deciding which jobs should go? Or would they want to retain jobs on lower hours/pay? Or would they demand retaining current job levels and cost of living increases as some more powerful unions demand?
[quote][p][bold]Andy R[/bold] wrote: Oh...and it's got everything to do with the GMB. They're a recognised trade union at Mears and therefore have a legal right to be consulted about changes and to negotiate.[/p][/quote]@Andy R - Sorry - I'm probably heavily biased against unions after what has happened at CityClean when they seem to control it rather than management. I agree that unions have the right to be consulted, as do the staff themselves, and if Mears have not discussed this with the them then they are probably in the wrong. However, IMHO, at the end of the day it is the right of the company, rather than the unions, to decide on how it is run, If a company really has to shed jobs to stay profitable then both staff and unions who represent them need to appreciate this and not expect 'jobs for life'. This is the same in any other public company these days where jobs, sometimes, have to be cut. You then have the difficult task of deciding who should go. Would the union help in deciding which jobs should go? Or would they want to retain jobs on lower hours/pay? Or would they demand retaining current job levels and cost of living increases as some more powerful unions demand? pachallis
  • Score: -1

3:46pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Charms_On_Charm says...

Bit better, still incorrect!!!
Bit better, still incorrect!!! Charms_On_Charm
  • Score: 0

7:04pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Mr Cushion says...

Why haven't Mears asked for voluntary redundancy? Are they targeting certain individuals within their company? Those at risk are professional /technical members of staff and not admin as suggested in the article? Residents of Brighton and Hove will suffer, more work and less staff. Are Mears going to employ more apprentices at a low cost doing 'real jobs' to gain more profits so branch managers can enjoy luxurious holidays during such difficult and hard times for everybody?
Why haven't Mears asked for voluntary redundancy? Are they targeting certain individuals within their company? Those at risk are professional /technical members of staff and not admin as suggested in the article? Residents of Brighton and Hove will suffer, more work and less staff. Are Mears going to employ more apprentices at a low cost doing 'real jobs' to gain more profits so branch managers can enjoy luxurious holidays during such difficult and hard times for everybody? Mr Cushion
  • Score: 4

7:23pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Hollysmalls says...

Mr Cushion wrote:
Why haven't Mears asked for voluntary redundancy? Are they targeting certain individuals within their company? Those at risk are professional /technical members of staff and not admin as suggested in the article? Residents of Brighton and Hove will suffer, more work and less staff. Are Mears going to employ more apprentices at a low cost doing 'real jobs' to gain more profits so branch managers can enjoy luxurious holidays during such difficult and hard times for everybody?
Do you work there by any chance? Lol
[quote][p][bold]Mr Cushion[/bold] wrote: Why haven't Mears asked for voluntary redundancy? Are they targeting certain individuals within their company? Those at risk are professional /technical members of staff and not admin as suggested in the article? Residents of Brighton and Hove will suffer, more work and less staff. Are Mears going to employ more apprentices at a low cost doing 'real jobs' to gain more profits so branch managers can enjoy luxurious holidays during such difficult and hard times for everybody?[/p][/quote]Do you work there by any chance? Lol Hollysmalls
  • Score: 4

10:55pm Thu 3 Apr 14

baloojbk says...

Unions have warned that council tenants will have to wait longer for work carried out on their homes if planned redundancies at local authority contractors go ahead. - ABSOLUTE RUBBISH JUST SCARE MONGERING BY THE UNIONS

Union leaders claim that the redundancies were being made without proper consultation or notice - THE UNIONS REPRESENT THE MINORITY OF STAFF IN MEARS AND EVEN THOSE STAFF WHO ARE UNION MEMBERS HAVE LITTLE FAITH IN WHAT THE UNION CAN DO
Unions have warned that council tenants will have to wait longer for work carried out on their homes if planned redundancies at local authority contractors go ahead. - ABSOLUTE RUBBISH JUST SCARE MONGERING BY THE UNIONS Union leaders claim that the redundancies were being made without proper consultation or notice - THE UNIONS REPRESENT THE MINORITY OF STAFF IN MEARS AND EVEN THOSE STAFF WHO ARE UNION MEMBERS HAVE LITTLE FAITH IN WHAT THE UNION CAN DO baloojbk
  • Score: 1

10:57pm Thu 3 Apr 14

baloojbk says...

GMB reps said that two members of staff had already left in the past fortnight because of the uncertainty surrounding their jobs. THIS ABSOLUTE RUBBISH, TWO MEMBERS OF STAFF RESIGNED LAST WEEK BECAUSE THEY WERE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR FRAUD
GMB reps said that two members of staff had already left in the past fortnight because of the uncertainty surrounding their jobs. THIS ABSOLUTE RUBBISH, TWO MEMBERS OF STAFF RESIGNED LAST WEEK BECAUSE THEY WERE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR FRAUD baloojbk
  • Score: 5

10:59pm Thu 3 Apr 14

baloojbk says...

Kawasaki998 wrote:
Mears have NOT completed the Decent Homes standard. In North Whitehawk we have bathrooms that's are 50 years old and never been touched by the Council just because we had a new kitchen many years ago we are not entitled to having our bathroom done. Now we know why they have closed our office in Whitehawk without any exclamation as to why. We have backed Mears for the last 6 years even having our own Neighbourhood meetings but suddenly closed the office without even telling us. Are Mears going to the wall I wouldn't be surprised as they have been going down hill for ages. Lets hope the next firm who wants to take over is a lot better
Whitehawk office was closed because the area is designated not safe by the Council because of certain tenants
[quote][p][bold]Kawasaki998[/bold] wrote: Mears have NOT completed the Decent Homes standard. In North Whitehawk we have bathrooms that's are 50 years old and never been touched by the Council just because we had a new kitchen many years ago we are not entitled to having our bathroom done. Now we know why they have closed our office in Whitehawk without any exclamation as to why. We have backed Mears for the last 6 years even having our own Neighbourhood meetings but suddenly closed the office without even telling us. Are Mears going to the wall I wouldn't be surprised as they have been going down hill for ages. Lets hope the next firm who wants to take over is a lot better[/p][/quote]Whitehawk office was closed because the area is designated not safe by the Council because of certain tenants baloojbk
  • Score: 0

3:28pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Mr Cushion says...

Hollysmalls wrote:
Mr Cushion wrote:
Why haven't Mears asked for voluntary redundancy? Are they targeting certain individuals within their company? Those at risk are professional /technical members of staff and not admin as suggested in the article? Residents of Brighton and Hove will suffer, more work and less staff. Are Mears going to employ more apprentices at a low cost doing 'real jobs' to gain more profits so branch managers can enjoy luxurious holidays during such difficult and hard times for everybody?
Do you work there by any chance? Lol
Did work there!
[quote][p][bold]Hollysmalls[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mr Cushion[/bold] wrote: Why haven't Mears asked for voluntary redundancy? Are they targeting certain individuals within their company? Those at risk are professional /technical members of staff and not admin as suggested in the article? Residents of Brighton and Hove will suffer, more work and less staff. Are Mears going to employ more apprentices at a low cost doing 'real jobs' to gain more profits so branch managers can enjoy luxurious holidays during such difficult and hard times for everybody?[/p][/quote]Do you work there by any chance? Lol[/p][/quote]Did work there! Mr Cushion
  • Score: 0

9:14am Sat 5 Apr 14

Canon man says...

baloojbk wrote:
Kawasaki998 wrote:
Mears have NOT completed the Decent Homes standard. In North Whitehawk we have bathrooms that's are 50 years old and never been touched by the Council just because we had a new kitchen many years ago we are not entitled to having our bathroom done. Now we know why they have closed our office in Whitehawk without any exclamation as to why. We have backed Mears for the last 6 years even having our own Neighbourhood meetings but suddenly closed the office without even telling us. Are Mears going to the wall I wouldn't be surprised as they have been going down hill for ages. Lets hope the next firm who wants to take over is a lot better
Whitehawk office was closed because the area is designated not safe by the Council because of certain tenants
Not safe, what a load of rubbish, I know that Whitehawk has some of the scum of Brighton living here, but 99.9% of the people that live here are desent people, it's a minority of scumbag freeloaders that ruin it for the good people that live in Whitehawk , its obvious that mears closed this office as a money saving exercise and nothing more!
Regardless of what people think, Mears are here to make as much money as they can, and by hook or by crook they WILL squeeze every last penny out of the council and it's bank balance!
whatever the profit margin of mears is, you can be sure of one thing, that money could be better spent by a council with it's own staff and it's own repairs team and the faster they learn this the better it will be for everyone in the city!!!
[quote][p][bold]baloojbk[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kawasaki998[/bold] wrote: Mears have NOT completed the Decent Homes standard. In North Whitehawk we have bathrooms that's are 50 years old and never been touched by the Council just because we had a new kitchen many years ago we are not entitled to having our bathroom done. Now we know why they have closed our office in Whitehawk without any exclamation as to why. We have backed Mears for the last 6 years even having our own Neighbourhood meetings but suddenly closed the office without even telling us. Are Mears going to the wall I wouldn't be surprised as they have been going down hill for ages. Lets hope the next firm who wants to take over is a lot better[/p][/quote]Whitehawk office was closed because the area is designated not safe by the Council because of certain tenants[/p][/quote]Not safe, what a load of rubbish, I know that Whitehawk has some of the scum of Brighton living here, but 99.9% of the people that live here are desent people, it's a minority of scumbag freeloaders that ruin it for the good people that live in Whitehawk , its obvious that mears closed this office as a money saving exercise and nothing more! Regardless of what people think, Mears are here to make as much money as they can, and by hook or by crook they WILL squeeze every last penny out of the council and it's bank balance! whatever the profit margin of mears is, you can be sure of one thing, that money could be better spent by a council with it's own staff and it's own repairs team and the faster they learn this the better it will be for everyone in the city!!! Canon man
  • Score: -1

9:21am Sat 5 Apr 14

Canon man says...

I forgot to say, that the worrying thing about all of this is that Brighton council is allowing it to happen, it's the tail wagging the dog and it stinks of back handers and envelopes being pasted around in secret car park meetings!
I forgot to say, that the worrying thing about all of this is that Brighton council is allowing it to happen, it's the tail wagging the dog and it stinks of back handers and envelopes being pasted around in secret car park meetings! Canon man
  • Score: -1

10:52am Sun 6 Apr 14

baloojbk says...

Hollysmalls wrote:
Here it is

http://www.theargus.

co.uk/news/11072004.

Brighton_family_stuc

k_for_months_in_hous

e__unfit_for_habitat

ion_/
Mears are certainly not doing the job for love and anyone that thinks that they shouldnt make a profit is naive.
If Mears need to reduce their staff, is it not their business, surely all of you that are having a good moan would rather people were not sitting around doing nothing and getting paid for itout what is our money at the end of the day.
As for the Council doing the job that would involve more afmin staff, more workers and more interference by unions and that all added together means more cost to us the tax payer.
As for Whitehawk, Canon man, it is fact that it was closed because of the unsafe nature of the area and some of the residents.
Personally I think you should all find out the true facts before you speculate
[quote][p][bold]Hollysmalls[/bold] wrote: Here it is http://www.theargus. co.uk/news/11072004. Brighton_family_stuc k_for_months_in_hous e__unfit_for_habitat ion_/[/p][/quote]Mears are certainly not doing the job for love and anyone that thinks that they shouldnt make a profit is naive. If Mears need to reduce their staff, is it not their business, surely all of you that are having a good moan would rather people were not sitting around doing nothing and getting paid for itout what is our money at the end of the day. As for the Council doing the job that would involve more afmin staff, more workers and more interference by unions and that all added together means more cost to us the tax payer. As for Whitehawk, Canon man, it is fact that it was closed because of the unsafe nature of the area and some of the residents. Personally I think you should all find out the true facts before you speculate baloojbk
  • Score: 2

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