St Mungo's protest. Photo: London Socialist Party
St Mungo's protest. Photo: London Socialist Party

Socialist Party members in Unite Housing branch

St Mungo’s homelessness charity workers have been on continuous strike since 30 May.

At the beginning of the strike, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham commented on the “astonishing management indifference” to the hardship faced by workers in the cost-of-living crisis on the part of the executive of the charity.

At strike rallies, frontline service managers have explained that one of their reasons for joining the strike has been the task of directing their staff to foodbanks.

The executive has made extensive use of agencies during the strike, to replace permanent employees. This has been deeply damaging to services for clients, but that has not been the priority for members of the executive, who have irresponsibly dragged out the dispute.

A recent High Court ruling, taking effect from 10 August, means that management will no longer be able to directly replace their staff with agency workers.

But instead of putting energy into settling the dispute, the executive has expended huge energy working out ways round the legal change, to continue services on an even more limited basis. Accelerating recruitment processes and the use of security staff represent real threats to service quality.

The executive members are behaving as if they are managers of an outsourcing corporation such as Serco, rather than a charity.

Many local authorities that fund their services have called on St Mungo’s to settle. They need to be prepared to use contract scrutiny powers to hold St Mungo’s to account.

Unite has given the strike total support nationally, and is committed to escalating its support.