'Rock solid determination'
Striking St Mungo’s staff protest over bullying at housing charity’s Bristol office
Striking maintenance workers at the St Mungo’s housing charity will stage a protest in Bristol on Monday (June 21) over bullying and anti-union behaviour by the management.
Around a dozen members of Unite, who are responsible for day-to-day repairs of charity’s housing units, have been on all out strike since April 22.
The strike was called after several staff grievances against property services senior management were dismissed.
The union said these claims had not been properly investigated and that a workplace representative is now being unfairly subjected to disciplinary proceedings as a direct result of raising the initial grievance.
The all-out strike follows a warning in March by Unite, which has more than 500 members at St Mungo’s, that a ‘bullying and anti-union culture’ amongst the management at the London-based charity needed to be addressed.
St Mungo’s staff staged walk-outs last year, in part due to the charity’s unbalanced and unfair use of disciplinary procedures.
Unite pointed to the targeting of the 44 per cent of workplace reps at the charity, who are currently engaged in formal processes concerning their own employment, as further evidence of an anti-union bias by management.
Unite regional officer Steve O’Donnell said, “St Mungo’s suspended our member who raised the grievance for gross misconduct as they viewed it as vexatious, despite two other members independently raising similar allegations.
“While publicly stating that it is committed to finding a solution, the charity has ignored requests to lift the suspension and commission an independent review into the allegations,” he added. “A letter from Unite asking St Mungo’s chair Robert Napier CBE to intervene has also gone unanswered.
“The fact is that we have given St Mungo’s ample opportunity to act on the genuine concerns of its staff,” O’Donnell continued. “But instead of resolving this dispute sensibly, something that could have happened weeks ago, the charity decided to make a bad situation worse.
“Having an entire department out on strike is not good for St Mungo’s operations or its reputation. But our members are rock solid in their determination to continue striking until St Mungo’s takes action to address the bullying and anti-union culture amongst its management.”
By Ryan Fletcher