Workers at homelessness charity St Mungo’s have had enough of being made to hand over data to the Home Office, demanding that the practice be stopped as part of a strike ballot.
More than 500 staff at the NGO, which specialises in helping rough sleepers, are balloting with the Unite union after talks broke down on Friday over a wide range of issues, including cuts to holidays, alleged pushing out of older staff, withdrawal of union facility time and victimisation.
And in a political twist, the union is also demanding an end to the charity’s widely despised role in reporting migrant rough sleepers to the Home Office, which was exposed by Corporate Watch two years ago as part of its investigation into deportation and Theresa May’s Hostile Environment policies.
Despite a court victory against the practice in 2017, it appears staff are still being used, against their wishes, as information gatherers.
In a statement, Unite said:
“There is growing disquiet among St Mungo’s workers over breaches to agreements which the union says are effectively forcing experienced staff ‘out of the door’ and harming services.
“In addition to unilateral cuts to annual leave for workers working shifts of more than seven-and-a-half hours in duration, workers are also unhappy at the ‘draconian’ use of disciplinary procedures and St Mungo’s decision to withhold pay for employees attending union meetings.”
The union also slammed:
“St Mungo’s sharing of client information with immigration enforcement agencies for deportation purposes without client consent and in the absence of serious risk to those clients or others, damaging St Mungo’s name and its’ employees’ professional integrity and risking the safety of outreach teams, and their refusal to provide assurances with respect to their future conduct in this area.”
Pic: Evelyn Simak