26 Feb 2008

Shelter workers strike needs your support

I think we should all support this, I think our support could help a lot...the alternative is using shelter to push down pay and conditions for public sector workers, all the usual nasty stuff.

This is from the Socialist Unity site:

Homelessness charity Shelter union shop’s ballot for industrial action ended last Thursday. Their dispute arises directly from the government’s policy of commissioning out public services to the “Third” or voluntary sector - Shelter management say they have to cut staff wages and conditions in order to win government contracts for projects previously provided by public sector workers.

The union got a 65.8 per cent turn out for the ballot, and a 76 per cent vote for industrial action — so they will be taking a series of strike days over the next few weeks.

Their first strike day will be Wednesday 5 March, and they will be picketing Shelter’s offices ( at 88 Old Street London EC1V 9HU)

They will be picketing from 7.45 am .

The stewards are appealing for people to come on the picket line. They think that one day of strike action will probably not change management’s
mind — and suspect they will be out the following week for two days of strike action, and possibly the week after for three days — so if you can’t make it on Wednesday 5 March, you will probably have another opportunity.

More details here:

Strike on at Shelter housing charity

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.

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.

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."

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."

Unite the union was formed on May 1 last year through a merger of amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union (T&G)
Further information: Unite media office 020 7611 2550 http://www.tgwu.org.uk/Templates/News.asp?NodeID=94144&int1stParentNodeID=42438&int2ndParentNodeID=42438&Action=Display

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