Hundreds of members of staff working for St Mungo’s the homeless charity, are set to strike this week – Monday (16 March) to Wednesday (18 March) this comes after staff voted by 83.7 per cent for action in a dispute over the reinstatement of ‘race to the bottom’ terms and conditions and a punitive sickness policy according to Unite the Union.
Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed said: “The last thing our members want is to cause hardship to vulnerable homeless people. But after more than a year of having their demands to be treated more fairly ignored, they’ve had enough.”
In a further twist in the bitter dispute, Unite the union, has warned the St Mungo’s CEO, Howard Sinclair to ‘stop blaming staff for your leadership mistakes.’ In response to the CEO’s calls for the strike to be suspended because of the cornavirus outbreak, Unite has said that it will follow government guidance and not be bullied by Mr Sinclair.
In a message from the charity’s frontline staff to their vulnerable ‘clients’, Unite members have said: “Your safety is our priority, which is why we feel so strongly about standing up to defend the services we deliver to you.”
Unite has welcomed St Mungo’s commitment to change its sickness policy in light of cornavirus, but says that it must go further and scrap the onerous requirement of making workers call two people when off sick.
A St Mungo’s staffer who wanted to remain anonymous said: “Yet again Howard Sinclair is embroiled with another dispute in his tenure as CEO at St Mungos; this shows his blatant disregard for St Mungo’s workers. He says he wants to come to a compromise, however, Mr Sinclair goes to the Daily Telegraph to berate the Union’s General Secretary.”
“I understand that Mr Sinclair is self isolating from a cough and cold, which we hear through the Daily Telegraph…..Members do not take industrial action lightly however, there comes a time when enough is enough.”
Cllr Alan Hall supports the union’s action because staff are standing up and being counted. They work on the frontline of the housing crisis and they deserve not be bullied into accepting worse working terms and conditions.