Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/522/3829

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 February 2008

Shelter staff vote to strike

Support those who support those in bad housing

Union members at the housing charity Shelter have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action over sweeping cuts to pay and conditions. These are the most serious attacks by senior management in the history of the organisation and this is why 72% of those balloted, voted "yes" to industrial action. This was on an impressive 65% turnout.

A Shelter worker

Director Ken Loach, whose film Cathy Come Home was an important spur to the foundation of Shelter in the first place, has given his full support to the workers and called for a boycott of donations to the charity until the dispute is settled.

The dispute started last year when management announced a series of "organisational changes", claiming that staff costs are too high and as a result the charity is struggling to compete successfully for government contracts. Staff feel aggrieved at such a suggestion when large amounts of charitable funds are spent on consultants and only last year over 500,000 was paid for the refurbishment of head office.

It is widely believed that senior management awarded themselves a pay hike shortly before announcing the need to make cuts. They have refused to confirm or deny these rumours.

Staff believe that chasing government contracts will lead to Shelter abandoning its record as a radical, independent campaigning voice. Moreover, there is no guarantee that even if all these attacks are carried through that management will be able to win the contracts.

Staff are furious that not only are posts being downgraded but also they are being pressurised to "agree" to extend the working week and abolish pay increments. Many staff have refused to sign the new contracts and the dismissal process is under way. Shelter chief executive, Adam Sampson, has told staff that those refusing to sign will be dismissed. Senior management seem to think this is perfectly acceptable because dismissed staff will be offered their old jobs back but on the newer, and far worse, terms and conditions.

Completely out of touch

Senior management's approach is completely out of touch with Shelter staff's view of the situation - and that of many thousands of donors. The senior managers seem genuinely dismayed when as they put it, they are just asking staff to work "a few extra hours a week".

However, Shelter staff have already swallowed a below-inflation wage increase this year and constantly juggle increasing housing costs and hikes in fuel bills. Working parents will be hit by a double blow of extra child care costs and a pay cut.

The reason why senior managers don't understand, is they earn top tax-bracket salaries. Adam Sampson recently lamented on the Shelter website that he just couldn't attract quality senior managers to the organisation because they could earn more in the private sector.

Yet he thinks it is perfectly reasonable to sack staff who refuse to sign for pay cuts and a longer working week.

Many small not-for-profit sector organisations find themselves unable to challenge government contracting criteria but Shelter does have choices.

It is not in a financial crisis and has generous reserves in the bank. We don't want to see Shelter and other similar organisations transformed into an arm of the government and this is why we believe it is important to defeat these attacks.

Shelter union members have received huge support and solidarity from others across the trade unions and beyond.

These messages have boosted morale and helped workers to realise that we are not alone in this struggle.

Shelter workers across England and Scotland will go on strike on 5 March. We need your support.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 27 February 2008:

Rich get richer - We pay the bills


Unison witch-hunt

Editorial: Stop witch-hunts in Unison - defend those attacked!

Trade union activist fights intimidation

Members protest at Unison witch-hunt


Socialist Students

Student feature: Fighting fees


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Building the Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Workplace news

Shelter staff vote to strike

Acas staff ballot for strike

Journalists battle for union rights

Workplace News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Scotland - Vendetta against Tommy Sheridan condemned

Feature: Fidel Castro's resignation opens up new chapter

Pakistan elections: Crushing defeat for Musharraf, landslide for opposition parties

Miliband's extraordinary apology on rendition

Sleaze in Northern Ireland: Keeping it in the family


Socialist Party campaigns

Don't let our hospital pay the price for PFI

Explosive mood on gas profits

Fight Devon and Somerset fire cuts

Marching against single status pay cuts

Neither Labour nor Tories will defend public services

Post Office closures

Sheffield buses campaign: 'Saving our services'


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 February 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Shelter:

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangle200,000 empty homes - 250,000 homeless - end property speculation

triangleThem & Us: 500k house party... 50p for rent

triangleFight the cuts - victims of domestic abuse depend on it

triangleA Street Cat Named Bob: tale of neglect by capitalism

Strike:

triangleWorkers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleStriking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Housing:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleNo more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Workers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

18/10/17

Local government

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2