St Mungo's to meet union at Acas tomorrow to avert strike ballot

Unite says cuts to annual leave and 'draconian' use of disciplinary procedures are causing disquiet; the charity insists it is not changing terms and conditions

St Mungo's works with homeless people
St Mungo's works with homeless people

More than 500 staff at the homelessness charity St Mungo’s could be balloted over strike action amid a long-running dispute about job security and terms and conditions.

The union Unite said it would meet representatives from the charity at the conciliation service Acas tomorrow in a bid to avert a vote over industrial action.

The union said there had been "growing disquiet" among St Mungo’s workers because of breaches to agreements that were forcing experienced staff out of the door and harming services.

It said there had been "unilateral cuts" to annual leave for some workers and what the union said was the "draconian" use of disciplinary procedures.

Unite said it was also unhappy that the charity had decided not to pay staff for attending union meetings.

The charity, which employs 1,300 people, said it was not trying to change staff terms and conditions or make any redundancies.

It said the dispute was about a number of small issues, some of which dated back years. It said it had already listened to some of them and amended policies as a result.

A statement from the charity said it was going to Acas "determined to resolve differences for those we house and support".

Tabusam Ahmed, regional officer at Unite, said: "St Mungo’s senior managers have a real opportunity to constructively engage with Unite and address a raft of issues that are causing great disquiet and anxiety for a dedicated workforce.

"We would urge St Mungo’s to seize that opportunity in talks at Acas by recognising that attacking the terms and conditions and side-stepping agreements on job security is no way to treat a workforce committed to helping some of the most vulnerable in society.

"A failure by St Mungo’s to listen to staff makes an industrial action ballot very likely, which could result in Unite members taking strike action."

Howard Sinclair, chief executive of St Mungo’s, said: "St Mungo’s has been determined to resolve differences and avoid Unite’s strike.

"By going to Acas we will explain our position and show that we are not proposing to alter terms and conditions as Unite claims.

"Our number-one priority is to look after the safety and interests of our clients. We want to keep making progress and avoid a Unite strike."

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