500 homeless charity staff to strike over pay and conditions from Friday

st_mungos_hostel_picStaff at homeless charity St Mungos Broadway are set to go on a weeklong strike from Friday over changes to pay and conditions.

The changes – that include a £5,000 pay cut for new starters and a £30,000 rise for the new CEO, according to Unite the Union – come after St Mungos merged with Broadway in April.

Staff were said to be furious with the plans and lack of consultation prompting a 67% turnout voting 96% in favour of action.

A Unite spokesperson said the new contracts will mean an end to collective bargaining, limit employees’ ability to defend themselves in disciplinaries and grievances, make it easier to force through redundancies and degrade existing roles to lower pay grades.

Up to 500 workers are expected to join the action from 8am on Friday in a bid to force senior management at St Mungos Broadway to reconsider the plans.

Unite’s regional officer Nicky Marcus said: “Staff are furious. They are simply not prepared to stand by and watch the heart and soul being ripped out of their organisation; an organisation with a hard fought reputation built on quality – quality of services and quality of staff.”

Marcus described the merger as a ‘bizarre coup d’état’ after senior Broadway execs took over the running of the new organisation despite Broadway being a fraction of the size of the financially sound St Mungos and running a loss.

“We urge the management to have a radical rethink of their current approach. They have exported an arrogant, controlling managerial style, downgraded policies, procedures, roles and pay rates from their own failing company to allegedly ‘secure the future’ of a highly successful, flourishing company with year on year surpluses and 10 per cent growth last year. The logic of that beggars belief,” she said.

However, an article by Charity Financials suggests Broadway has seen superior income growth to St Mungos, although brings in a third of the money. Of course income growth is no reflection of how well the money is spent or the quality of the service.

Howard Sinclair, St Mungo Broadway’s chief executive, told Dash24 he was disappointed at the action given no jobs were being cut and insisted pay and conditions would remain the same for existing staff, but highlighted the increasing numbers of clients being seen in an ‘ever tighter economic climate’.

He said: “I am willing, as I always have been, to meet with Union representatives to discuss alternative suggestions to managing the challenges we face.”

But Marcus hit back saying: “The sheer arrogance of Howard Sinclair is simply intolerable to our members.

“We have repeatedly asked management to sit down with us to negotiate. Management, in response, simply repeat that they do not accept we are in dispute. Perhaps they will now.”

A resident at St Mungos Broadway in Hackney expressed shock after hearing of the planned strike saying he “didn’t know anything about it. No one tells you anything”.

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