5 November 2014
On Wednesday morning (5 November) workers for the homelessness charity St Mungo’s Broadway were due to begin a 10 day strike with picket lines outside their workplaces followed by a mass protest outside of Griffin House. Instead they made their way to a victory rally at the St Mungo’s Broadway headquarters!
Addressing the rally, Unite convenor for St Mungo’s Broadway, Adam Lambert, explained that the bosses had completely caved in to what the union was demanding.
This included promises of the removal of the threat to pay new starters a lower rate of pay, harmonisation of pay for all staff to NJC pay scales, retention of collective bargaining rights and full consultation on changes to policies and procedures.
Their previous seven day strike put huge pressure on the charity’s bosses. It saw 19 different picket lines and eight big protests outside local councils in London.
At the heart of the dispute was the idea of a battle for defence of the service that they provide. As the strikers put it if the bosses have no respect for the staff, then they have no respect for the service either. It was a dispute about stopping the race to the bottom in social care.
St Mungo’s Broadway CEO, Howard Sinclair, also spoke at the rally and admitted responsibility for the dispute. He asked the 300 assembled workers to help St Mungo’s Broadway move forward together. But some in the crowd shouted “What about your pay rise?”. One union member suggested, “Maybe you should take a pay cut!”.
Bosses caved in during talks at ACAS, on the eve of the further 10 day strike, which had been called quickly at a mass meeting of strikers last Tuesday.
The victory rally also heard from James Murray, Islington councillor who has supported the dispute, Nicky Marcus, the Unite official who had lead on the dispute, Sally Kosky, Unite national official and Peter Kavanagh, Unite London regional official.
This important victory can inspire workers across the country.
You can send messages of congratulations via Twitter to @SMBUnite
or email: SMBunite@gmail.com
Adam and other strikers will be speaking at the Unite the Resistance conference on Saturday 15 November, click here for more information.