Employees Talk about Rip-off Rent Row Sackings
Government asks Council for enquiry after revelations
Accusations are still flying around over who is to blame for the £12,000 monthly price tag on an Acton home. The seven-bedroom property is currently the home of a previously homeless family from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the three Ealing Council employees who housed the family were told to leave and were then escorted from the building.
Ealing Council have blamed government rules, describing them as "absurd". Cllr Vlod Barchuk, posting on the ActonW3.com Forum this week, said: "The Council is obliged to provide housing to families in this situation according to the rules – no one has suggested we’ve broken them.
"If I’m less outraged than w3 posters it’s because I’ve brushed up against the housing system on a number of occasions and know it can give more to some who don’t deserve it, less to others who need more, that landlords either play the system or avoid it altogether because they don’t want tenants who rely on benefits to pay the rent. And it can provide a massive disincentive to working (you earn money, you lose housing benefit). migrant family to live in posh house."
Salma Khan, one of the three, said this week: "We were absolutely shocked. We had managers standing over us and were just escorted out of the building."
Her colleague David Lewis said: "I am stunned and appalled. We have done nothing other than to apply the rules set out for us by the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) and we pay the ultimate price by being dismissed immediately".
Ealing Council says the BBC employees were only escorted from the building because they had access to very sensitive information. They will be paid a week's wages in line with their contracts as agency staff.
The Council also denied any suggestion that they had done anything wrong or failed to follow guidelines. They said the termination of their jobs was part of pre-planned restructuring aimed at saving money.
Asked whether there was any indication of that beforehand, Ms Khan said: "Nothing, no. In fact I had been advised during the morning that the position would be advertised at the end of this month and that there would be an opportunity to apply for a permanent job."
David Lewis added, "Last week, I was in the process of interviewing someone to join our team. So to be told that we were being dismissed with immediate effect was a complete shock to me."
Posters on the W3 and W5 Forums continue the debate, accusing the Council of lies and incompetence.
The three agency workers are now taking legal advice based on their evidence. Meanwhile, Ealing Council has been asked for a report by the Government into its handling of the case.
October 16, 2008