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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Anti-poverty charity announces voluntary recognition agreement with trade union


Unite will now be recognised by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, as the charity announced a 9% staff pay rise. 

A prominent anti-poverty charity has announced a voluntary recognition agreement with one of the country’s largest trade unions. 

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) announced this week that it was welcoming Unite the Union as the first to represent JRF staff. 

The agreement, signed at the beginning of 2023, covers all staff within the charity and makes clear that the organisation will now negotiate with the union on collective pay and related matters - such as hours and annual leave. 

The foundation will also now be required to consult with the union on a number of other areas.

JRF group chief executive, Paul Kissack, said in a blog that it was “perhaps odd” that JRF had never recognised a union, given the charity’s work on workers’ issues. 

He added: “As someone who prior to joining JRF spent twenty years in the public sector, I have never previously worked somewhere which doesn’t recognise a union (or indeed multiple unions). 

“This is not to suggest that JRF has been backward in its approach to employee relations. Far from it. But the absence of a recognised union at JRF remains a curiosity.

“Today, at a moment when we see deep poverty and destitution in the UK rising, and extremes of wealth and power being entrenched, the important role that unions can play is perhaps more apparent than it has been for decades. Every day on the news we are witnessing that power in action. 

“As an organisation setting out our own commitment to support the transition to a more equitable future, JRF should welcome the collective action of those who have too often felt powerless in the face of injustice.”

The announcement comes alongside confirmation that workers at the charity will receive a 9% pay rise for next year, following discussion between staff and management. 

The rise will cover all staff in both JRF and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT), except for the most senior managers who received a lower amount.



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