I have received quite a few emails and phone calls from tenants who have reported Council staff trying to persuade them to vote Yes to sell off our housing. Over on Swindon Housing Group’s Facebook page other tenants have reported the same thing. There have been too many reports for this to be considered to be the odd ‘rogue’ member of staff.
One of the tenants on SHG Facebook says she has reported 3 members of staff for this. She was told that they were either ‘badly trained’ of they ‘weren’t listening’ during the training. Another tenant who asked why somebody from the Parks department had been sent to her house to talk to her about the vote, was told “everybody has been trained”.Now there is no question that the conduct of staff has differed. Some of them are not telling people which way to vote. However, they are all singing out of the same hymn sheet – the very one sided propaganda of the Council. They have been misinformed during their “training”. For instance they told me that “the Council has been told it has to do it” (that is transfer the stock), which is not true.
What is particularly despicable is the bullying which has gone on. What else would you call staff telling tenants “you might as well take that down (a No poster), it won’t make any difference”, or “if you vote No it won’t make any difference”?
There is no question that the Council’s ruling group and senior officers are treating tenants with utter contempt.
Mr Holland (lead member for Housing) and the Council Officers have peddled the myth that they are just presenting “neutral information” to tenants. All these reports give the lie to this.
Sadly some tenants who are in favour of transfer have colluded with the Council in this. The DVD is so obviously a pro-sell off film (see https://keepourcouncilhomes.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/the-pro-sell-off-dvd/). Two members of the Shadow Board appear on it masquerading as ordinary tenants asking questions. They are not identified as members of the Shadow Board.
The only way to deal with SBC’s dirty tricks is to continue campaigning for a majority of tenants to vote No. Sadly some tenants seem to think the vote won’t make any difference. So we have to get across to them that as tenants we have our own fate in our hands. ‘Transfer’ can only take place if a majority of tenants vote Yes. We have the power to stop our homes being flogged off. We have to impress upon those people who are opposed to transfer, and those who quite rightly do not trust the Council’s ruling group and it’s senior officers, don’t waste your vote. Make sure you cast your No vote. Despite all the propaganda of the Council, we can stop this sell-off taking place.
Re Council staff hassling tenants, I had a phone call today from ‘Debbie’ from the Council – could I ask you about the vote about housing? I replied that I had already sent in my answer – could I tell her what it was? I replied No (this also happens to be my answer) and put the phone down. Surely this whole business of asking tenants what their response is, is illegal. Do we have a tenant anywhere who is a solicitor? Might the Council’s actions render the whole exercise null and void? It is certainly very suspicious, ?harassment.
I will check this out with a Barrister I know, Anne (not Russell Holland I hasten to add).