London Sanctuary Housing strikes grow

More workers joining strike as members report using food banks

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More workers are joining the strikes at Sanctuary Housing in London as members report having to use food banks.

Around 50 repair workers, who are based in Hackney but carry out repairs across London, are striking over a four per cent pay rise imposed in 2023. This was a significant pay cut, as the real rate of inflation, RPI, at the time was 11.4 per cent.

Since the strikes began, more workers, including caretakers, have joined Unite and become involved in the strike action.

Speaking at the picket line on Wednesday, Unite rep Charles Christodoulou said, “Morale is growing, we’ve got six new faces here today which we never had on the last strike two weeks ago…It’s going great and we’re growing the membership.”

Charles also commented that some of the lowest paid workers at Sanctuary are using food banks.

He said, “We’ve got some workers here who are going to food banks…Our guys going to food banks – It’s just not right.”

In comparison, Sanctuary Housing revenues for last year stood at £943m, with its surplus increasing by 73 per cent to £101.3m. Sanctuary Housing’s CEO, Craig Moule, is paid £380,000 a year.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said,“It is disgusting that an organisation with such a massive surplus and that pays its chief executive such a huge salary treats its workers in this way. Our members are absolutely right to strike and they have Unite’s complete backing for as long as it takes.”

Sanctuary Housing has completely ignored the workers’ requests for their union, Unite, to be recognised.

The workers will strike again on 25 and 26 March. More strike dates will be scheduled if the dispute is not settled. 

Unite regional officer Matt Freeman said, “Sanctuary has needlessly escalated this dispute and caused disruption to its tenants by its appalling behaviour towards these workers. Our members’ resolve is rock solid – Sanctuary cannot keep burying its head in the sand. It needs to put forward an acceptable offer.”

By Ava Vickerman

Picture by Ava Vickerman