Staff at homelessness charity start month-long strike in pay dispute

Trade union members at homelessness charity St Mungo’s have started a month-long strike in response to a 2.25 percent pay offer.

Unite, the trade union representing St Mungo’s staff, said the workers were fed up with “greed” at the top of their homeless charity while they struggled to make ends meet.

The pay offer is well below the current rate of inflation.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘Charity workers who should be on the streets helping the homeless have reached breaking point. The workers are now taking a stand.

“Instead of seizing the initiative to end the dispute, management’s decision to offer a pitiful 2.25 percent has spectacularly backfired. Now St Mungo’s faces a month long strike and the workers have Unite’s total support. The pitiful pay offer has just made everyone in the union angrier. 

‘St Mungo’s have the answer in their own hands. Make Unite members a decent pay offer. Their indifference to the financial pressures facing their own staff is quite frankly astonishing.’

The pay dispute goes back to 2021 in the midst of falling pay and the cost of living crisis. 

Unite regional officer Steve O’Donnell said: ‘The workers at St Mungo’s are ready for this strike.  Although they recognise taking action has an impact on their clients the fault of the strike lies firmly with the management. 

‘Our members will not accept the crumbs from the table. Especially while the number of senior managers increases and the CEO earns a huge salary. 

‘All their divisive and spiteful tricks of changing payroll deadlines to impoverish strikers and cancelling shifts before the strike will backfire because our members are ready to take action for improved pay.’

The union said that St Mungo’s chief executives had seen their average pay rise by 77 percent since 2013 – up from £107,000 to more than £189,000 according to the latest published accounts – with the pay of senior management rising by 350 percent in that time. 

Meanwhile, Unite’s figures indicated the real value of the wages of St Mungo’s workers had fallen by 25 percent in a decade, with a frontline worker earning around £26,000. 

Emma Haddad, chief executive of St Mungo’s, said: ‘Our latest offer, combined with the annual pay rise proposed by the National Joint Council, would have meant a pay rise of at least 10% for those colleagues on the lowest salaries. This is what Unite has been asking for but voted against it. 

‘After all our efforts to find a solution to this dispute, a four-week strike is unprecedented and disproportionate. It will impact vulnerable people at risk of or recovering from homelessness. 

‘My door remains open to Unite, every day during the strike.’

The strike will run until 26th June.

photo: Unite


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