Goodlord boss William Reeve has admitted that it “made some mis-steps” in dealing with the strike involving Unite members within its workforce earlier this year.
Speaking on Christopher Watkin’s YouTube channel, the CEO said although it had tried to do the right thing, on reflection he would do some things differently.
“The argument wasn’t about money but more about how it was communicated and the level of activism that we didn’t anticipate in the business which we probably would have found a different way to deal with if we’d had foresight.”
The strike – in February – involved staff at its London-based, 100-strong tenant referencing team, which the company wanted to turn into a full-time national team working from home.
Unite ran a national campaign against what it said was a growing trend of fire and rehire policies during Covid, using the hashtag #badlord.
Some of Goodlord’s staff were on hourly rates and others were on a six-month fixed term contract, and all were given the chance to go for 40 new permanent roles with a Real Living Wage, above statutory paid sickness and holiday leave, and access to bonuses, said Reeve.
The small minority who chose not to move forward with the new permanent contract offered were given several months’ notice of the changes, which included an extension to their temporary contracts so they had time to find alternative employment.
“We made some mis-steps and ended up with a big argument with a dozen of our team,” he said, “but we’ve been up against political activism rather than an actual dispute about pounds, shilling and pence.”
Reeve added that for other proptech firms, lockdown would continue to have consequences. “But if you’re communicating clearly about what you’re trying to do and being fair and not try to penny pinch you’re in a good position.”