St Mungo’s workers agree pay deal, ending months of strike action

The Information

The agreement will see nine in 10 members of staff receive a total minimum increase of £3,125

(Photograph: St Mungo’s)

The homelessness charity St Mungo’s has confirmed it has come to a pay agreement with Unite the Union, ending three months of strike action. 

The new pay offer package, which was put forward by the charity on 18 August, will see 90 per cent of staff receive a total minimum increase of £3,125 in 2023/24.

In a statement the charity said the award would work out as a pay increase of between 7 and 15 per cent, depending on the staff members salary.

The total cost to St Mungo’s will be just below £6m, the charity said. 

Alongside the pay increase the homelessness charity will provide an additional three days of annual leave for members of staff, remove the probationary period when moving to a new role internally, and make a commitment to establish a wellbeing fund for teams. 

In a statement released today, Unite said workers in the lower salary brackets will receive a bigger share of the pay pot, while executive directors at the charity agreed to a pay freeze for 2023/24.

More than 500 workers at the homelessness charity have been on strike since 30 May in industrial action that was initially scheduled to last four weeks before it was extended indefinitely. 

The strike was initially planned in opposition to what Unite called a “pitiful” pay increase offer of 3.7 per cent, which the union said did not reflect dramatically increasing inflation. The dispute involved Unite members across southern England including in London, Bristol, Brighton, Oxford, Bournemouth and Reading.

Emma Haddad, chief executive of St Mungo’s, said: “Following a vote, Unite the Union has confirmed its members have accepted the new pay offer package we put forward on 18 August 2023.  

“In this offer, everyone who is on up to and including point 36 on the National Joint Council (NJC) pay scale will receive £1,200 per year as a St Mungo’s allowance in addition to the annual pay award, which will be a minimum of £1,925 this year.

“This means over 90 per cent of staff will receive a total minimum increase of £3,125 in 2023-24.

Haddad said the charity was “relieved” with the outcome of the pay offer. 

She said: “This vote resolves the dispute and ends a period of unprecedented strike action, and we understand Unite is asking people to return to work on Monday 4 September 2023. 

“We are relieved with the outcome as we know this has been a difficult time for everyone involved. We look forward to working together with our colleagues and our partners as we continue to support people recovering from, or at risk of, homelessness.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This was a hard-fought battle resulting in victory for St Mungo’s workers who are dedicated to helping the homeless.”

“The workers took action because they were under huge financial and mental pressure and they weren’t being listened to by management.”

“Unite will continue to defend workers when employers refuse to do so, in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions for our members.”

Unite national lead officer Onay Kasab said: “The reps and activists have delivered a fantastic result plus hundreds of new Unite members. The pay deal isn’t just inflation-beating; it goes above and beyond previous pay deals at St Mungo’s, which always matched local authority agreements.

“The workers are to be congratulated for their resilience and determination.”

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