The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 7th December 2018

Uncharitable Bosses

by New Worker correspondent

THE HOUSING charity Shelter is facing three days of strike action next week after a vote by workers to reject a ‘derisory’ pay offer of a one per cent pay increase plus a non-consolidated (one off) one per cent payment. Their union, Unite, is seeking an increase of 3.5 per cent simply to meet the annual retail price index (RPI) increase or a flat rate of a £1,100 increase for all. If the situation is not resolved the strike will be repeated in the New Year.

The union claims that the workers have endured a real-terms pay cut of 11 per cent since 2010 because of a series of below inflation pay increases. The charity recorded a surplus of £1 million last year and has increased reserves to £15.7 million this year.

Speaking anonymously, a Shelter worker said: “I am very worried about the implications of this on my own financial obligations and responsibilities. We are here to support people on low incomes, but Shelter staff are now facing this themselves. Shelter’s vision of a safe secure affordable home for everyone is a bit meaningless considering I am struggling to pay my mortgage every month.”

Unite regional officer Peter Storey said: “Our members are not greedy. They are not looking to get richer, they are just trying to keep their heads above water. Unite’s members at Shelter have faced a year-on-year pay squeeze since the beginning of the decade and this year’s derisory pay offer was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.”

The union also warned that strikes could seriously affect the organisation’s ability to offer advice and support to the homeless and people in precarious housing in the pre-Christmas period.

Shelter, which came to prominence after the famous drama documentary Cathy Come Home in 1967, was once a campaigning charity. Nowadays it is in the market for contracts to provide council services for homeless people — therefore it doesn’t like to upset them too much..