Workers at 'Shelter' to strike

This is a press release from Unite. The strike takes place on March 5th. Picketing begins at 07.45 a.m. at the London office of Shelter (88 Old St, London EC1 9HU) and other trades unionists have been asked to attend to show their support. 

25 Feb 2008

Workers at national housing charity Shelter are to strike on Wednesday March 5 over management plans to scrap their pay and grading structure and force them to sign new employment contracts.

Members of Unite the union decided by 211 votes to 78 in a secret ballot to take strike action to secure a rethink by the charity’s management following months of fruitless negotiation over the issue.

“There has been an overwhelming vote for industrial action, and that must send a clear message to Shelter managers that it is time to change track,” said Unite regional industrial organiser Alan Scott. “Dedicated Shelter workers are legendary among homeless people across the UK and those who are affecting by housing issues because they work selflessly for justice, and will always go the extra mile for those in need.

“But they can’t live on dedication alone; they need to bring home a wage based on their union’s employment agreements with Shelter, rather than have their contracts scrapped and replaced with inferior conditions.

“Our members are saddened that they have been forced into strike action. We are particularly concerned that some of our members feel that they are being intimidated into signing the new, inferior, terms and conditions.

“Whilst our members recognise the funding difficulties that the charity is experiencing, they regard the solution as being disproportionate and do not accept that there was no alternative to management’s proposed solution. In recent times Shelter has spent at least half a million pounds on refurbishing its head office, has employed six new change managers and ensured that senior management pay is in line with ‘the market’. Our members believe that some of this money could have been used to protect their agreed terms and conditions of employment.”

“We hope that the strike action will not be necessary, and that at this late stage Shelter management will work with us to resolve the dispute through negotiation. But our members have made it clear that they are not prepared to see their rights and working conditions destroyed.”

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