Lifeline staff call off planned strike action

East London drugs charity agrees to recognise trade union Unite, whose regional officer, Jamie Major, says staff wanted a say in their future

Jamie Major
Jamie Major

Staff at a facility in east London run by the drugs charity Lifeline have called off planned strike action.

Employees at Lifeline’s Tudor Grove site in Hackney decided not to walk out on 23 and 29 February after the charity agreed to officially recognise the trade union Unite yesterday.

The deal follows wrangling over a restructure in which some staff had to apply for new jobs.

Unite’s regional officer, Jamie Major said: "They want to make sure that they have a say in any future changes to the service."

The charity had sent the union a draft recognition agreement earlier this month but agreed to sign a version drafted by Unite, which Major said included extra consultation rights for staff on changes to sick pay and pensions.

Tudor Grove is the first of Lifeline’s 50 or so sites to gain union recognition. But Major said another in nearby Tower Hamlets had also expressed an interest in it. "I am comfortable we will be building good industrial relations moving forward and would hope that if we demonstrate 50 per cent membership across other sites then we could sign a national agreement," he said.

Ian Wardle, chief executive of Lifeline, said he was very pleased the agreement had been signed. "I would not want to predict the future and it is too soon to talk about a national deal, but in terms of local deals in the south east of England I am very happy to move things along," he said.

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