Hounslow community support workers to strike

Low pay and workloads force first ever strike in referral service Hestia's 50-year history

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Workers employed by Hestia, a referral service which provides adult services in Hounslow in London, will take strike action on 12 and 13 December.

A number of workers who are Unite members provide support for people ranging from mental health support, addiction, immigration and language barrier support.

Hestia management are refusing to negotiate with Unite over a cost of living pay increase and the provision of adequate travel expenses. Bosses have outrageously threatened Unite members with disciplinary action if they discuss pay with colleagues during work.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said, “Hestia management are running this important service into the ground. They’re ignoring dangerous understaffing and low pay. They must acknowledge this now and have meaningful negotiations with the union. These workers have Unite’s full support.”

Staff say the charity is also refusing to address understaffing and imposing unrealistic changes in working practices which will make it near impossible to provide the important services that at risk Hounslow residents desperately need. This is despite the referral service receiving an increase in funding from the local authority.

Unite regional officer, Steve O’Donnell added, “Hestia faces its first strike in 50 years. Workers are struggling to make ends meet and Hestia has a recruitment and retention crisis because of poor pay and conditions. Excessive workloads have reached dangerous levels and still bosses refuse to engage with the union. So management must address these problems urgently or the strike goes ahead.”

By Ciaran Naidoo