St Mungo's picket line in Bristol. Photo: Roger Thomas

St Mungo’s picket line in Bristol. Photo: Roger Thomas   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Unite 1111 housing branch officer

Property service workers at St Mungo’s charity are entering their tenth week of indefinite strike action against workplace bullying. This follows victimisation and sustained bullying by senior managers.

The team voted overwhelmingly for strike action. The turnout was 66.7% with a 100% ‘yes’ vote.

Three Unite union members were initially targeted by management, two of whom were Unite reps. One member was routinely criticised, shouted at, and embarrassed in front of the team he was managing

Within hours of Unite communicating a timetable for industrial action to Steve Douglas the CEO, a Unite rep within the team was suspended for ‘gross misconduct’.

This Unite rep had made over 27 serious allegations against three senior managers, two of whom are at the highest level of management including one on the senior leadership team.

An internal hearing, however, failed to uphold any of the allegations. Furthermore, 12 staff members who had witnessed the bullying and would have supported the complainants were not interviewed as part of the investigation. Managers were unable to explain why the 12 had not been interviewed.

Management has failed to follow the ACAS (the workplace arbitration service) best practice guidelines. Moreover, it has refused to discuss bullying with Unite on the grounds that it is ‘not a collective issue’.

To maintain pressure on management Unite, has taken up with the issue with local councillors.

Unite strikers are now doing a tour of Mungo’s workplaces outside of London to raise the profile of the strike in preparation for what could be an escalation of the dispute.

Unite reps who have been contacted overwhelmingly back the strike – with tales of their own experiences of bullying at Mungo’s.

Unite is calling for the suspension of our rep to be lifted immediately. It also demands that an independent investigation takes place into the bullying culture which exists at St Mungo’s.