The management of the homelessness charity St Mungo’s has been accused of fostering a “bullying and anti-union culture”.
Unite, which has more than 500 members at the charity, said a disproportionate 44 per cent of union stewards at St Mungo’s were engaged in formal processes concerning their own employment, while also dealing with similar matters for fellow union members.
Unite believes St Mungo’s managers are targeting union reps so they do not have time to represent members because they are too busy defending themselves.
The charity said it had a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment and would work with the union to address any areas of concern.
Staff at the charity took part in a three-day strike in March last year as part of a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
The union said that the issue had become so bad within St Mungo’s property services department that it was balloting its 10 members in the division over strike action.
The charity’s property services department is responsible for the day-to-day repairs of the charity’s 3,200 units.
Unite called the ballot, which will open for two weeks on 23 March, after a number of staff grievances against senior management in this department were dismissed.
The union said the claims had not been properly investigated and that a workplace representative is now being unfairly subjected to disciplinary proceedings as a direct result of raising the initial grievance.
Steve O’Donnell, regional officer at Unite, said: “The bullying and anti-union culture among management at St Mungo’s must end. Unite believes reps are being targeted to hinder them carrying out their union roles on behalf of staff.
“Meanwhile, the anger within the property services department is such that we have no choice but to ballot our members for strike action.
“The unfair disciplinary process against Unite’s workplace representative must also be dropped, as must the targeting of union reps elsewhere in the organisation.”
The union called on the charity to work with it to resolve the dispute.
In response, the charity said it took all allegations of bullying and harassment seriously and had strong policies and procedures to investigate them.
A St Mungo’s spokesperson said: “This year, 90 per cent of our staff who completed an independent survey – which protects the anonymity of those who take part – said they have not experienced bullying or harassment, and since 2013 we have seen a continuous decrease in the proportion of staff who have.
“St Mungo’s recognises both Unite and Unison, and will always work with both of our unions on any issues of concern.”