St Mungo's Broadway staff to stage week-long strike over working conditions

Unite union members at the charity voted to walk out for one week from 17 October

St Mungo's Broadway
St Mungo's Broadway

Union members at the homelessness charity St Mungo’s Broadway will strike for a week as part of a dispute over changes to working conditions.

Members of the Unite union voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a ballot that concluded on Tuesday.

Unite said the dispute concerned what it called "sweeping changes" that had been made to employees’ terms and conditions and HR practices after the merger of St Mungo’s and Broadway earlier this year.

The union, which said that members had already passed a vote of no confidence in senior management, said that the starting annual salary of a new project worker had been cut from £25,000 to £20,000, and that significant changes had been made to HR policies and procedures without consultation with the union. 

At a meeting last Wednesday evening, union members agreed to walk out for one week from 8am on 17 October.

Of the 370 Unite members that voted in the ballot, 355 were in favour of strike action, or 95.9 per cent.

The charity employs approximately 1,300 people, about 200 of whom worked for Broadway before the merger.

Nicky Marcus, regional officer at Unite, said the result was unprecedented in the housing sector.

"Front-line staff know that you can’t run a charity caring for the most vulnerable people in society as though it’s a City bank," she said. "They won’t stand by and watch the heart and soul being ripped out of their organisation.

"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."

Howard Sinclair, chief executive of St Mungo's Broadway, said the charity was making contingency plans to keep services running with minimum disruption for clients.

"I am obviously disappointed that industrial action will be going ahead, given that we are not cutting jobs or the pay or terms and conditions of existing staff," he said. "I am willing, as I always have been, to meet union representatives to discuss alternative suggestions to managing the challenges we face.

"Our priority remains providing services of the highest quality for the increasing numbers of clients we are seeing, within the ever-tighter economic environment."

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