Unite the Union officials have chosen to strike at homelessness charity St Mungo’s on Monday 16, Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 March 2020. We have made it clear to Unite officials that this is not the week to be striking and we should come together so we can all prioritise our clients and services at this unprecedented time.
St Mungo’s has done everything possible to stop Unite’s strike over the last 18 months including making a number of concessions. St Mungo’s is not cutting pay, altering staff terms and conditions nor making enforced redundancies.
Unite officials have accepted a number of the offers made by St Mungo’s meaning that several points on Unite’s original list of issues have been resolved.
This means that Unite the Union are now striking because:
• We have introduced changes that mean in a small minority of retendered services, one third of support staff in teams of three, six or seven will be assistant (entry) level. In the last nine months this new policy has only been used once. St Mungo’s has guaranteed no redundancies or lower pay for any existing team members.
• Unite the Union do not agree that our staff should have to contract central HR team (send a one line email or call) as well as call their managers when they are off sick. This is not required if their manager exempts them because they are having pre-planned treatment, are in hospital, or there are other special circumstances.
• St Mungo’s Board and senior team won’t change the disciplinary policy to prevent anybody ever being dismissed.
• In 2015, St Mungo’s corrected a historic mistake to ensure that some staff don’t get more annual holiday than others, even though they are on the same employment contracts. Unite the Union want this correction to be removed.
• Last year we published a review that showed that our approach to working with the Home Office was changed in May 2016 when the Government introduced a new policy which regarded rough sleeping as a breach of EU treaty rights. Unfortunately one of our outreach teams continued to share information between July 2016 and February 2017. St Mungo’s policy now clearly states that we do not share any information about our clients with the Home Office without the client’s full and informed consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
• St Mungo’s stopped giving lists of staff details to Unite without an individual’s consent when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. St Mungo’s will still offer Unite details of those who have consented.
Unite the Union officials refused to engage with St Mungo’s on any issue apart from changes to assistant level recruitment in retendered services.
In their desire to strike, Unite the Union officials have lost perspective on the issues and St Mungo’s is calling on Unite to postpone their strike without preconditions, start talking with us about our offers and allow the charity to reallocate staff from managing Unite’s strike to pandemic contingency planning and protecting our vulnerable clients.