A ‘bullying and anti-union culture’ amongst the management at London-based housing support charity St Mungo’s must end, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Friday 19 March).
Unite, which has more than 500 members at St Mungo’s, said a ‘disproportionate’ 44 per cent of Unite stewards at the charity are currently engaged in formal processes concerning their own employment, while also dealing with similar matters for fellow Unite members.
Unite believes St Mungo’s managers are targeting union reps so they don’t have time to represent members, as they are too busy defending themselves.
St Mungo’s staff staged walkouts last year, in part due to the charity’s unbalanced and unfair use of disciplinary procedures.
Currently, the issue has become so bad within St Mungo’s property services department that Unite is balloting its members in this section for strike action.
The ballot, which opens on 23 March and runs until 6 April, 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 regional officer Steve O’Donnell said: “The bullying and anti-union culture amongst management at St Mungo’s must end. 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.”