St Mungo’s rejects “bullying and anti-union culture” criticism

Homelessness charity St Mungo’s has denied claims by the union Unite that it has a “bullying and anti-union culture”.

The union says its stewards are being disproportionately targeted by the charity through “formal processes concerning their own employment”.

Unite says this is impacting more than four out of ten (44%) of its stewards and preventing them from representing members.

The union says the issue “has become so bad” within the charity’s property services department that it is balloting its members in this section for strike action.

The ballot opens this week and ends on 6 April.

Unite says that staff grievances against property services senior management have not been properly investigated and one workplace representative of the union is “not being unfairly subjected to disciplinary proceedings as a direct result of raising the initial grievance”.

But a St Mungo’s spokesperson said: “St Mungo’s has a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment. We take all allegations of such behaviour seriously and have strong policies and procedures to investigate them.

“This year, 90% of our staff who completed an independent survey – which protects the anonymity of those who take part – said they have not experienced bullying or harassment, and since 2013 we have seen a continuous decrease in the proportion of staff who have (10%).

“St Mungo’s recognises both Unite and Unison and will always work with both of our unions on any issues of concern.”

The charity’s property department is responsible for repair at its properties across London and the South of England.

“The bullying and anti-union culture amongst management at St Mungo’s must end,” said Unite regional officer Steve O’Donnell.

“Nearly half of Unite’s reps are currently engaged in formal processes concerning their own employment, while also dealing with similar matters for fellow Unite members.

“Unite believes reps are being targeted to hinder them carrying out their union roles on behalf of staff.

“Meanwhile, the anger within the property services department is such that we have no choice but to ballot our members for strike action. Further escalation can be avoided if St Mungo’s launches an independent and impartial investigation into the behaviour of property services management.

“The unfair disciplinary process against Unite’s workplace representative must also be dropped, as must the targeting of union reps elsewhere in the organisation.

“Unite’s door is always open, and we call on St Mungo’s to work with the union to improve industrial relations between staff and management.”

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