Hundreds of members of staff working for the homeless charity, St Mungo’s, are set to strike after voting by 83.7 per cent for action in a dispute over the reinstatement of ‘race to the bottom’ terms and conditions and a punitive sickness policy.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, is calling on local authority commissioners of St Mungo’s homelessness services to put pressure on the CEO Howard Sinclair to return to the negotiating table for last ditch talks, warning that a strike by the union’s members could cause disruption to service delivery in councils across London and the south of England.

Unite is open to talks with the conciliation service Acas, but has warned that the ‘offers’ on the table since the summer are not good enough and will need to be re-visited if progress is to be made.
A meeting of Unite workplace representatives will take place over the next few days to decide the next steps.

Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed said: “The last thing our members want is to cause hardship to vulnerable homeless people. But after more than a year of having their demands to be treated more fairly ignored, they’ve had enough.

“This was a resounding vote against a heavy-handed and bullying management style.

“If the strikes go ahead, the services councils rely on to support vulnerable, homeless people in their areas will be disrupted, but this is the responsibility of senior management.

“Unite has been seeking to resolve these matters with the employer for over a year. We are urging all commissioning local authorities using St Mungo’s services to exert pressure on the management to get back around the negotiating table.

“Our members’ demands – that management respect staffing agreements, staff terms and conditions, and end their draconian use of discipline and hostility towards their chosen trade union – are reasonable.

“The time has come for management to negotiate and to rebuild trust.”

The ballot of over 500 Unite members was the second in less than six months, after the first ballot missed the 50 per cent legal threshold by a single vote.

The issues in the dispute have remained the same and centre on the tearing up of the junior staffing cap, which members fear risk a reinstatement of race to the bottom terms and conditions, an onerous sickness policy and disproportionate use of grievance and disciplinary procedures.

ENDS

For more information please contact Unite campaigns coordinator Chantal Chegrinec on 020 3371 2063 or 07774 146 777. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065. Email: chantal.chegrinec@unitetheunion.org

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