A rally called by the St Mungo’s Broadway Solidarity Campaign will be staged against the pay and employment policies of the ‘arrogant’ bosses at housing charity, St Mungo’s Broadway in Hammersmith tomorrow (Thursday 23 October).
The rally will take place next to the charity’s head office at Griffin House, 161 Hammersmith Road, London W6 8BS from 10.30 tomorrow.
About 650 staff, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, have been on a week-long strike since last Friday (17 October) and tomorrow’s rally by the solidarity campaign is designed to get the hardline management around the negotiating table to thrash out a fair and equable settlement under the auspices of the conciliation service Acas.
Unite said there is a blatant unfairness between huge pay rises that the top bosses have received recently - including £30,000 pocketed by new chief executive Howard Sinclair – while new project workers have seen their pay slashed by £5,000 to £20,000-a-year.
Unite regional officer Nicky Marcus said that she was prepared to meet Howard Sinclair ‘at any time, any place’ for talks – but if the management continued to treat frontline workers ‘with contempt’ more industrial action was on the cards.
The crux of the dispute is what Unite calls ‘a bizarre coup d’état’ which saw Broadway, a ‘struggling’ organisation of 200 employees making year on year deficits merging with the highly successful 1,000-strong St Mungo’s.
The new management team quickly imposed detrimental changes to salaries for new starters and existing staff being restructured
Other adverse changes included the removal of pay negotiations from collective bargaining; procedural changes which compromise employees’ ability to defend themselves in disciplinary and grievance hearings; and making it easier for management to force through redundancies; re-grading roles to de-skilled lower paid versions and sidelining the union entirely.
Nicky Marcus said: “The strike has been extremely well supported – new members are joining every day. Services to the homeless have been hit which goes against the whole ethos of our members’ working lives.
“But they have been faced with an extremely controlling management that wants to force down our members’ relatively modest wages and employment conditions, while bosses give themselves huge pay hikes.
“Without a hint of self-awareness Howard Sinclair explained the £5,000-a-year pay rises for HR advisors by saying ‘you have to pay for quality’. What a pity he doesn't apply the same principle to his frontline workers who work with the most vulnerable people in society.
“What is most galling is that the management have given no financial reasons or figures to support this onslaught on our members’ pay and conditions. We had more than 11 hours of talks with Acas last week which proved fruitless in reaching a settlement.
“Unite is prepared to talk at any time, any place to resolve this dispute. However, our members are prepared to take further industrial action to show that they are not going to allow quality services to the homeless to be eroded by a blinkered management.”
For further information please contact Unite regional officer Nicky Marcus on 07980 721 425. Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693 940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.