Over 400 members of Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, employed by the housing and homeless charity Shelter, will take three days of strike action beginning on Tuesday 11 December in a dispute over pay.

72 hour strike

The 72 hour strike follows a ‘derisory’ pay offer of a one per cent pay increase plus a non-consolidated (one off) one per cent payment. Unite members are seeking an increase of 3.5 per cent the retail price index (RPI) as of April 2018 (the annual pay date) or a flat rate of a £1,100 increase for all workers.

According to Unite Shelter’s workforce has suffered a real terms pay cut of 11 per cent since 2010 because of a series of below inflation pay increases. Shelter recorded a surplus of £1 million last year and has £15.7 million in reserves.

The strikes could seriously affect the organisation’s ability to offer advice and support to the homeless and people in precarious housing in the pre-Christmas period.

Further strikes in the new year

If the dispute is not resolved, Unite will hold further strike action in the new year.

Unite regional office Peter Storey said: “Our members are not greedy. They are not looking to get richer, they are just trying to keep their heads above water.

“Unite’s members at Shelter have faced a year on year pay squeeze since the beginning of the decade and this year’s derisory pay offer was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

“It is entirely unfair that the wages of Shelter workers have been declining at the same time that the charity’s reserves have been increasing.

“The management at Shelter should stop trying to pressurise our members not to go on strike and instead enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Testimonies from Shelter members:

“I am very worried about the implications of this on my own financial obligations and responsibilities. We are here to support people on low incomes, but Shelter staff are now facing this themselves.”

“It has left me feeling undervalued and underappreciated at a time when myself and my staff are working above and beyond capacity every day.”

“I would like Shelter to revise its pay offer to reflect the hard work of its staff and not leave them worse off financially.”

“Shelter’s vision of a safe secure affordable home for everyone is a bit meaningless considering I am struggling to pay my mortgage every month.”

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.