A second round of talks aimed at resolving a long running dispute between the UK and Ireland’s largest union, Unite and the homeless charity St Mungo’s will take place this Friday (26 July), at the conciliation service Acas, after ‘not nearly enough progress was made’ at last week’s talks.

The charity’s refusal to row back on plans to abolish the junior staffing cap agreement, as well as its draconian disciplinary and sickness policies, are a major sticking point for Unite members.

Unite members fear that services are being irrevocably harmed because experienced staff are being forced out of the door and replaced with lower paid junior staff.

St Mungo’s staff, who provide help and support for homeless people across the south of England, in Brighton, Bristol and London are starting to speak out with messages about what the attacks to their union-negotiated agreement and terms and conditions mean to them and the service they provide.

One anonymous message to St Mungo’s chairman, Robert Napier CBE, reads: “My project is shedding staff at an alarming rate. We’ve lost excellent colleagues, all said they loved working in such a great team, but could no longer stand the stress.”

Another writes: “I’m concerned that the services we deliver to our clients are suffering, as St Mungo’s is unable to retain good staff because of its poor wages and continued erosion of terms and conditions.”

Unite is urging St Mungo’s senior management to come back to the table ready for genuine and meaningful talks focused on addressing the raft of issues related to the charity reneging on the agreement and reinstating ‘race to the bottom’ terms and conditions. The ball is in its court.

Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed said: “St Mungo’s needs to start listening and realise that our members are really very anxious about the attacks to their union-negotiated agreement, job security and terms and conditions.

“While we acknowledge that St Mungo’s has finally agreed to Acas talks, we are concerned that it does not share the same level of commitment. So far, not nearly enough progress has been made.

“The messages we’ve received from members to Robert Napier, make clear that staff are worried about what the changes mean for their professionalism and the service they provide to some of the country’s most vulnerable people.

“When you have an employee say that ‘the general feeling of working at St Mungo’s is fear’, and another say that they don’t feel ‘listened to or valued’ there is a problem.

“Unite is genuinely committed to finding a mutually agreed solution to this dispute and is urging St Mungo’s senior management to engage with us constructively to resolve it or risk strike action by our members.”