Unite, Britain's biggest union, has lodged a claim with the employment tribunal on behalf of 300 staff from the charity Turning Point for unfair dismissal.
Unite has accused Turning Point of "losing its soul" after it sacked its 2,600 strong workforce and re-engaged them on 'shabby' contracts which mean staff would lose anything between £4,000-£6,000 a year in wages, not to mention cuts in redundancy payments and a knock-on effect on pensions.
Unite says that the reputation of its chief executive Lord Victor Adebowale is now in tatters. Some of his staff will even be forced to rely on charity themselves, through food banks, to make ends meet, because of this unprecedented attack on frontline workers who support some of the most vulnerable people in society.
Turning Point is a social enterprise and registered charity based in the UK which runs projects in more than 240 locations across England and Wales. The health and social care organisation helps and supports those affected by drug and alcohol misuse, mental health problems and those with learning disabilities.
Turning Point is not in financial difficulties and the union believes it is taking this course of action, so it is in a position to aggressively expand the organisation by undercutting other providers in the sector.
Unite regional officer Jamie Major said:
"Lord Victor Adebowale's reputation is now in tatters and Turning Point has lost its soul for sacking its entire workforce and re-engaging them on shabby contracts, meaning these committed frontline workers will lose thousands of pounds a year.
"Some of the charity's workers may even have to use charity themselves by resorting to food banks in order to put food on the table. It is no wonder that staff have joined together to take legal action against the charity by lodging a claim with an employment tribunal. What makes staff so angry is that these attacks on good people who provide crucial services to the most vulnerable in society are not being driven by financial difficulties, but by an increasing free market ethos in the not-for-profit sector.
"Anyone can see that what Lord Victor Adebowale and Turning Point have done is morally wrong. Its now up to the tribunal to decide if they have broken the law."
Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.