The housing charity Shelter is set to be hit by a three day strike next week as Britain’s largest union, Unite announced that 400 of its members would be walking out from Tuesday 16 December over pay cuts of up to £5,000 for frontline staff.
Amid warnings that ‘cut rate pay’ will lead to a ‘cut rate organisation’, the advice and support workers are angry over the imposition of a new pay scale at the charity leading to pay cuts of up to £5,000 for new starters, with the pay of current frontline staff only being guaranteed until 2016.
The action, hitting the charity’s advice and support work, was backed by two thirds (69.2 per cent) of those taking part in a recent strike ballot and follows a continued refusal by Shelter management to negotiate meaningfully.
In addition to pay cuts for new frontline staff, the proposed pay changes have left the charity open to accusations of creating a two tier workforce. The new pay scale only affects frontline staff and will see some advice workers earning several thousands of pounds less than non-frontline colleagues working on the same grade elsewhere in the charity.
Shelter’s main offices in London, Glasgow and Sheffield as well as smaller ones in cities such as Manchester and Bristol will be affected by the three day strike, which starts at 00:01 hours Tuesday 16 December and concludes at 23:59 hours on Thursday 18 December.
Unite regional officer Peter Storey said: “Our members care deeply about the help they give and the people they support. They are fearful that ‘cut rate pay’ will lead to a ‘cut rate organisation’ as managers struggle to recruit experienced replacements on the new lower rates of pay.
“Shelter’s frontline support and advice workers are the lifeblood of the charity and deserve better than pay cuts while those with huge salaries at the top see their pay protected.
“Cutting pay for some of our lowest paid staff is simply not necessary. Shelter is in a healthy financial position and management need to get back around the table to negotiate a fair settlement.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
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