Archive article from The Socialist Issue 517
Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/2008/517/np2456.htm
Shelter staff under attack from management
Senior management at housing charity Shelter are attempting to implement the most serious attack on staff pay and conditions in Shelter's 41 year history. If pushed through, these cuts will also fundamentally change the way in which Shelter delivers its services.
A Shelter worker
It will transform Shelter, which was built on the back of the 1966 television film Cathy Come Home to campaign against bad housing and homelessness, into an organisation which prioritises chasing government contracts above all else. The vast majority of Shelter's dedicated staff are fundamentally opposed to these changes.
Management are pressurising staff to accept the abolition of incremental pay, an extension of the working week, downgrading of posts and a massive reduction in salary protection for redeployed staff.
Staff are now being told they must sign to 'agree' a reduction in their terms and conditions.
If they refuse to sign, management are threatening to implement the changes without consent by sacking staff and offering re-employment on new contracts with reduced terms and conditions.
These attacks have dragged down staff morale. Like many in the not-for-profit sector, staff have willingly made financial sacrifices to work in this field because it is important to them.
We are extremely angry that our senior management team now tell us our pay and conditions are too generous. They earn top-tax bracket salaries.
Senior management claim that there is 'no more money', we are 'too expensive' and there is a need to reduce core costs.
They say we live in a 'contract environment' where Shelter has to compete for statutory funding sources.
We don't agree that statutory contracts should be obtained at any price, nor are they a major portion of Shelter's income.
These contracts mean a 'race to the bottom' in terms of staff pay and conditions of those organisations who bid for them.
Shelter staff are concerned at being told there is no more money for services, yet there appears to be money for highly paid consultants and a swanky refurbishment of the head office.
Each of management's proposals hits different sections of the workforce but all will undermine Shelter's work and our conditions. That is why we are standing together, calling on management to withdraw their "organisational changes" in their entirety.
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