Union threatens legal action against housing charity

Unite the Union has threatened to take legal action against the social care charity Hestia as part of a row over union activity.

Unite said the charity’s management contacted some Unite members at Hestia shortly after the union put in a pay claim in June

The letters threatened staff with potential disciplinary procedures if they conducted any union business, including discussions about Unite membership, without authority from managers, according to Unite campaigners.

The charity said it “welcomes trade union membership”, but did not respond directly to Unite’s threat.

It also said it was talking to another trade union about recognising it within the organisation. 

In a blog post published this week, the union says: “Our regional officer has assured us that Unite would pursue legal action were a member to be victimised for an act as innocent as passing on or receiving a union leaflet.”

It says pay is “clearly critical” to the charity’s ability to recruit and retain care staff, adding that “the anti-union approach to too many senior managers in the sector does nothing for morale or service quality, as well as deepening the recruitment crisis”.

A Hestia spokesperson said: “Hestia welcomes trade union membership, as we believe that having a union voice within our organisation will strengthen employee engagement and, in turn, the services we offer to the people we support.

“We have been in dialogue with another trade union who are established in the sector over recent months about recognising them within our organisation. We have also created an employee forum to listen to, and act upon, employee ideas and concerns.

“We are committed to creating the best working environment possible for Hestia employees, so they in turn can provide the best service possible to our service users.”

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