St Mungo’s strike:  Ramp up the heat on wobbling management 

Workers at St Mungo’s homelessness charity across the south of England have embarked on indefinite strike action and voted to reject the latest pay offer from management. 

Below is the text of the latest Socialist Party leaflet.

The recent offer, which has been rejected by members, is evidence that the strike is working.

Under pressure from the continued action, senior management found an extra £700,000 per year for pay.  Emma Haddad’s ‘outburst’ (see ‘St Mungo’s strike at crucial stage’ at also shows the pressure they are under from the action.

So as the strike continues, it’s important that members turn up the heat to force a better offer.

From reports at the rallies, and speaking to strikers, it’s clear that there are still more people joining the strike.

When staff see large and loud pickets at the different projects, that’s when they have renewed confidence in the strike and join themselves. No one wants to feel like they are taking action alone – and they aren’t!

Haddad and the rest of senior management are wavering, and the strike continuing to grow is the biggest source of pressure on them.

To Labour councillors – solidarity is welcome but the strike needs action not words

The strike has lots of support from the wider labour movement, as well as giving support to the NEU and other workers in their actions. This includes support from a number of Labour councillors. Some councillors have even asked what they can do to support the strike.

The first thing is they should wholly support the demand for 10%. The strikers can discuss what other action they want from councillors.

The strikers could demand that all union-backed councillors write to Haddad and demand she meets with them as a step towards meeting the workers’ demands.

The councillors could demand that Haddad opens up St Mungo’s financial accounts to scrutiny by Unite the Union representatives and the councils which have contracts with the charity.

One councillor from Brent said, at a rally, that they would not support a pay rise that would bankrupt the charity. Is this councillor under the impression that 10% would bankrupt St Mungo’s? If they are worried, they should demand to see the full financial statements – including the pay of all senior management! We’re sure this would alleviate any fear. A 10% pay rise will not bankrupt the charity but will be a big step forward for frontline staff.

Given that St Mungo’s has so many contracts with local councils and a large part of its work is funded with public money, it’s only right that there is accountability about how that funding is used. Is it being used to line the back pockets of a few? How does this serve the interests of people experiencing homelessness, or frontline staff?

Ultimately the growing housing crisis must also be fought. Partly, staff members need a pay rise because of sky-high mortgages and rents. If Labour councillors were really serious about tackling homelessness in their boroughs, they wouldn’t just contract St Mungo’s to support homeless adults, they would take measures such as rent controls in the private sector, and push forward with council house building to reduce waiting lists.

St Mungo’s workers see first-hand the impact of the housing crisis and the broken housing model. Let’s fight to end the housing crisis, with decent, affordable housing which meets the needs of all.

A Starmer–led government is likely at the next general election, but the radical housing policies which were put forward in Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto have been removed.

Thanks to a motion by Unite Housing Workers branch, the Unite conference will be discussing opening up the political fund so that the union can back candidates from other political parties which support Unite policy. This could be an important step in fighting for a genuine political voice for the workers’ and trade union movement in the future.