Friday, March 16, 2012

The Homeless Charity and the "Race to the Gutter"

Below is the UNISON press release on the attack on terms and conditions of staff employed by London Homeless Charity Broadway. Our members (seen lobbying their Board meeting on Tuesday evening in Commercial Street, Tower Hamlets) carry out a very difficult and demanding job supporting vulnerable single homeless people across London. both "on the street" and in hostels and projects.  Of course the original "villain" in all this is the Tory Government for cutting "Supporting People" funding. 

However, a small number of rogue Housing Associations and "Charities" are under cutting decent employers in a bidding war to win "new business". This is truly a "race to the gutter". You simply cannot provide a quality service to clients by decimating your staff's pay and conditions. No responsible employer should take part in such bids. Our branch is launching a campaign against "Rachman employers". Believe it or not there are employers who are treating staff even worse. 

NEWS FROM UNISON

UNISON MEMBERS PROTEST AGAINST ATTACKS ON TERMS & CONDITIONS

On the 13th March angry UNISON members employed by Broadway Housing Association lobbied Board members, following their decision to slash wages and dramatically cut terms and conditions.

The proposed changes - which have reached the end of a consultation with UNISON despite objections from the union and staff - would;


·         Reduce the pay of new front line staff by at least £4,500 per annum – in effect a 20% reduction in salary (with salaries which currently stand at between £23,000-25,000 being pushed down to between £18,500 – 20,000).


·         Reduce the pay of 14 existing staff which Broadway believes are paid above the medium wage for their roles.


Terms and conditions for new staff will be dramatically cut and will include:


·         No pension provision (current staff receive 5% employer contributions matched by 3% employee contribution).


·         Reducing Annual leave entitlement to statutory requirements (a loss of 6 days per year).


·         Abolishing dependency leave and halving compassionate leave to 5 days


·         Reducing sick leave entitlement (to statutory during probationary period and a 4 weeks full pay and four weeks half pay per annum in the first three years of employment).


·         Reducing maternity pay to statutory.

In addition to these cuts Broadway intend not to pay a cost of living increase for 2012/2013.  

Joel Bodmer Chair of the UNISON Housing Association branch, which represents members employed at Broadway as well as many other housing associations said

“ It is absolutely shameful that Broadway have apparently made a strategic decision to position themselves away from a focus on quality; which the organisation have in past been associated with, and move themselves towards the “no frills airline” model of care and support.

The organisation are clearly re-jigging themselves to be at the forefront of the race to the bottom which we are witnessing in the sector. It is really sad that very skilled people who work in some incredibly challenging environments are being so un-fairly rewarded for the jobs they do.

People choose to work in the sector because they believe in helping the most vulnerable members of society; this good will is clearly being abused by organisations who believe they can squeeze terms and conditions as much as possible, and still receive high quality work from dedicated staff. We will continue to fight the short-sightedness off all attempts attack the terms and conditions of people who perform such crucial roles in our society.”

Broadway claim the cuts are necessary for the organisation to remain viable and continue to be in a position to win new services claiming it could not allow its reserves to fall below £850,000.

For more information please contact 

Colin Inniss, UNISON Regional Organiser 07703 194 127 / c.inniss@unison.co.uk

John Gray, Branch Secretary, UNISON Housing Associations Branch - 07432 150 530 / J.Gray2@unison.co.uk
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