Maintenance workers at the St Mungo’s housing charity will begin indefinite strike action from Thursday 22 April in response to ‘appalling treatment’ by senior management, Unite said today (Thursday 8 April).
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 evidence of an anti-union bias by management.
Staff relations have become so bad within St Mungo’s property services department that 12 Unite members will begin indefinite strike action on 22 April.
The strike was called after a number of staff grievances against property services senior management were dismissed.
Unite 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.
St Mungo’s property services department is responsible for the day-to-day repairs for the charity’s 3,200 units, which are located in London, Bristol, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bournemouth, Brighton and Reading.
“Unite’s concerns at the bullying and anti-union culture amongst St Mungo’s management have only grown since we first brought them to the attention of the charity,” commented Unite regional officer Steve O’Donnell.
“We believe our reps are being targeted with formal procedures to prevent them from being able to stand up for staff, who are also suffering from management’s hostile approach.
“A prime case in point is within the property services department, where staff have had no choice but to launch indefinite strike action because of appalling treatment by management.
“At the moment, strike action is contained to one department. But unless there are significant efforts from St Mungo’s management to improve staff relations and halt the targeting of our reps, staff anger could grow to levels that caused mass walk-outs last year.
“Unite is keen to work with St Mungo’s to resolve this dispute, but that can only be done if management acts on staff concerns and stop targeting union reps,” he concluded.
By Ryan Fletcher