Shelter staff vote for pay strike

Members of the Unite union voted 69.2% last week in favour of action that would in effect cut the pay of Shelter’s new advice and support workers, Inside Housing report.

The strike action is likely to happen just before Christmas.

Under the pay changes salaries for new staff members working in the charity’s advice support section will be reduced and based on ‘market median’.

Shelter says it currently pays advice and support workers ‘well above the salary for similar roles elsewhere’.

It maintains that funding cuts and increased competition for donors mean it cannot sustain such salaries.

However, senior staff receive top bracket salaries and their pay has gone up considerably in recent years.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘This leaves us with a simple but painful choice: keep the higher pay levels, cut our services and make some roles redundant, or maintain the number of people we help and reduce salaries for new staff.

‘We always strive to be the best employer we can be, but in this instance we feel we have to put our ability to help those who need it first.’

Shelter’s latest financial accounts show Mr Robb’s salary increased from £110,000-£120,000 to £120,001-£130,000 between 2012/13 and 2013/2014.

The charity posted an operating deficit of £2.3m in 2013/14 (2012/13: £5.2m), however the organisation says this is planned, due to increased spending on fundraising activities.

Members of Digs pledge their support for the Shelter workers on strike. Digs member Samir Jeraj said:
“”Day after day advice workers help renters and other who face homelessness. They deserve to be paid and treated decently for this difficult work. An charity like Shelter should stand for equality and fairness. They should not be cutting the pay of advice workers whilst staff at the top receive a rise.”

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