However, this is not to be and members have voted by a majority of 71% (on a very relatively very high turnout of 65.8%) to strike. Shelter has threatened to sack staff who do not accept these cuts.
The first strike is on 5 March 2008. Must find out the nearest picket line?
Ken Loach (the film director who directed “Cathy Come Home” which is credited with helping to launch “Shelter”) has been interviewed in the Guardian calling for people to stop financially supporting “Shelter” until this dispute is resolved. Not sure about that one? No mention of such a call in the T&G website? I’ll go with what the unions advise on that one. See Shelter boss, Adam Sampson response.
It would appear that a cause of this whole disaster is that Shelter management (who may or may not be paid huge amounts of money but do seem to be fond of paying large amounts of money for “change consultants” and expensive refurbishments of their head office) are fearful that unless they can cut staffing costs they will be uncompetitive and lose legal aid contracts to the “evil ones” such as outsourcing giant “Capita”. This is serious issue across the public/private sector. Is it right that organisations can lose contracts to firms that do so by simply slashing the wages of existing staff? Doesn’t TUPE apply? Should new starters also be protected under TUPE? Should the new Warwick Agreement between the trade unions and the Government include all such contracts? (YES).
By co-incidence during the Labour Party conference last year, at the UNISON Housing fringe, Adam Sampson, was a panel speaker alongside the then housing Minister Yvette Cooper and the UNISON Head of Local Government, Heather Wakefield. During the Q&A I asked Yvette to respond to Heather’s comment about excessive pay rises for senior management in many Housing Associations. Yvette appeared to be concerned about the unfortunate tendency for these managers to pay themselves very large pay rises and said that the government was aware of the issue and will take firm action to stop it if necessary. Interestingly Adam also piped up with an attack of such housing associations, since he claimed that their actions meant that Shelter had to pay more money to recruit senior staff. This he said was causing financial problems across the voluntary sector.
So Adam, is the reason you have to cut the terms and conditions of relatively low paid staff due to money you think you have to pay to recruit senior executives? I think we should be told.....