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Goodlord chief admits ‘mis-steps’ over referencing team strike

CEO William Reeve says situation could have been handled better but that company faced political campaign rather than real employee dispute.

Nigel Lewis


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.

Hourly rates

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.”

Watch the interview in full.

June 14, 2021

One comment

  1. I thought (and maybe I got it completely wrong – so apologies in advance) it was about a 25% cut in wages. Did it not centre around employees needing to live close to the company and so were paid a London weighted salary, then being asked to take a quarter less in their salary, even though their particular cost of living was higher than the norm. Maybe if it was reported in a sloppy way in the press originally – Will Reeve could hit me up and give me the true facts, after all always two sides to all stories, and it might not have been over ‘pounds shillins and pence’ at all. I know Unite got pretty upset about it though.

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