Shelter staff say imposed settlement leaves them unable to pay rent
Workers at homelessness charity Shelter have begun an unprecedented fortnight of strike action.
They are furious after bosses imposed a pay deal of a three per cent cost of living increase – a figure they claim amounts to a huge, real terms pay cut, with inflation raging at 14%.
The Unite union, which represents Shelter workers, said the imposed deal had left staff unable to pay rent and has opened up the very real possibility of them becoming homeless themselves.
Shelter also gave staff a one-off payment of £1,500 – but Unite says one-off payments are not a solution as they do not take inflation into account and leave pay at “unacceptably low levels”.
Talks at conciliation service Acas collapsed last week and the union claimed the charity’s management had “refused to enter into meaningful negotiations”.
The union suggested the charity use its £14.5 million reserves to give its staff a meaningful pay rise.
Shelter’s offices across the UK – including those in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh – will close until Friday, 16 December.
Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, said: “It is unforgivable that workers at Shelter find themselves actually being haunted by the prospect of being made homeless. Shelter has sufficient reserves to pay its hardworking and dedicated staff a decent pay rise, but it has chosen not to.”
Tim Gutteridge, Shelter’s director of finance and strategy enablement, said: “Regrettably the cost of living crisis is impacting both our colleagues and operational costs, and we are doing everything we can to navigate these challenging economic times. Industrial action is not the outcome we wanted after months of talks with the union, but we fully respect people’s right to strike.”
Shelter – which admitted some of its services would be “temporarily impacted” during the strike - said that anyone who needed urgent housing advice should visit its website to access its digital advice and services information.