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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 November 2019

Homeless charity workers to strike against intransigent management

October 2014 St Mungo's Broadway strike, in Hackney, photo Paul Mattsson

October 2014 St Mungo's Broadway strike, in Hackney, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Paul Kershaw, Unite housing workers' branch

Workers at the homelessness charity 'St Mungo's' are set to strike on 16, 17 and 18 March. Further action will be announced if management remain intransigent.

Workers have been forced into this position by their boss's decision to go back on an agreement limiting the number of lower-paid (and less well-trained) staff on duty in projects, as well as by a draconian approach to staff sickness and disciplinaries.

Staff say a lower-paid, lower-skilled workforce will not be able to deliver the same standard of service to vulnerable clients. They see the move as part of an irresponsible 'race to the bottom' by executives.

Chief Executive Howard Sinclair has taken a combative approach from the start and has sought to bypass and undermine Unite the Union as the voice of staff.

Sinclair chose to launch an attack on Unite and its general secretary Len McCluskey in the Daily Telegraph. Just 48-hours before a meeting with Unite to discuss emergency cover, he claimed the union was prepared to put vulnerable people at risk.

But frontline staff strongly feel they put the interests of vulnerable clients first every day, sometimes struggling to overcome senior management who have quite different priorities.

At recent talks at conciliation service, Acas, Unite put costed proposals to St Mungo's management which were aimed at a compromise, but St Mungo's bosses refused to discuss them.

To give one example of the management style in St Mungo's, a recent judgement by an employment tribunal found that St Mungo's had victimised a staff member following her submission of an equal pay questionnaire.

The Human Resources director Helen Giles told the staff member's husband that she would never work in the organisation again having made the submission.

Unite represents over 500 members at the charity. It continues to appeal to management to negotiate an agreement.

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In The Socialist 13 November 2019:


Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Full NHS funding now

Coronavirus infects the world economy

Flybe collapse: nationalise to save jobs threatened by Covid-19 and downturn

Coronavirus: international cooperation needed, not capitalist competition

Supermarkets are ruled by profit - unions should control supply limits

For full pay during isolation: for public health as well as workers' wallets

Self-isolation patients speak: NHS facilities and advice not up to it

Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic

South Korea shows capitalism has money to respond to coronavirus

Coronavirus news in brief


News

Domestic Violence bill: We still need to fight to save our services

News in brief


Workplace news

Postal workers mobilise to win strike reballot

Homerton Hospital workers fight for sick pay

Fighting to transform the union in my warehouse

Argos workers in Sainsbury's stores threatened with losing collective bargaining

Homeless charity workers to strike against intransigent management

Southampton trade unionists say "defend the right to strike!"

Strong support for PCS Broad Left Network

East London uni and bin worker strikes


US election

How can Trump be ousted from the White House?


Campaigns and party news

Salford 'no-cuts' budget includes cuts and tax rises

Stoke council unions beat pay cuts - now let's stop all cuts

Is there an anti-cuts rebellion in Scotland?

Socialist Party joins International Women's Day protests

Housing workers explain reality to idiot Boris Johnson

Swansea: Ask anyone about state of services, you will hear the real story

Camarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Student occupation in support of striking workers

Selling the Socialist

Socialist Party executive committee positions


International news

Greece-Turkey border refugee crisis


Women's and trans rights

Women's rights, trans rights and the labour movement


Readers' opinion

Film: Greed directed by Michael Winterbottom

Childcare - costly, inadequate and hard work

Book: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

The Socialist Inbox


 

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