St Mungo’s maintenance staff to strike amid 'bullying and anti-union' furore

Maintenance workers at St Mungo’s are to launch an indefinite strike later this month amid allegations of a “ bullying and anti-union culture” at the homelessness charity.

The strike follows concerns raised earlier this year by Unite, that management at the charity are bullying union leaders working at St Mungo’s.

This includes accusations that the charity is targeting union representatives to “hinder them carrying out their union roles on behalf of staff” said Unite last month, which added that almost half (44 %) of its representatives are engaged in formal processes concerning their own employment.

The strike will start on Thursday 22 April and involves 12 Unite members in St Mungo’s property services department, which handles repairs for thousands of properties across London, Bristol, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bournemouth, Brighton and Reading.

Staged walk-outs were also held last year over the charity’s disciplinary procedures.

The union alleges that claims of bullying have 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”.

“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,” said 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.”

A St Mungo’s spokesperson said: “St Mungo’s wholeheartedly refutes these claims and has worked hard to try to avoid potential industrial action which was voted for by eight people.

“We have a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment and take all allegations of such behaviour seriously, and have strong policies and procedures to investigate them. The internal enquiries into the allegations made remain ongoing and these will continue.

“We will work to minimise disruption to our services, and are implementing contingency plans now the date of industrial action has been announced. Our focus – as always – is the safety and welfare of our clients, and our staff.”

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