The strikes were backed by 11 of the 20 Unite members who voted and follows a previous ballot in September that Centrepoint challenged the legality of. The union’s 88 members at Centrepoint are now set to strike on 10, 11 and 30 November. The dispute centres on Centrepoint’s plans to introduce pay cuts in response to the loss of government contracts to deliver housing and support for young homeless people.
Unite regional officer Matt Smith said: “Despite all the management’s efforts, our members have again voted for strike action. It is very unfair that our members’ pay will be cut so much that they could fail to keep up their mortgage and rental payments and join the very people they are dedicated to helping – the homeless.”
Centrepoint said it has already improved its proposals twice during five months of negotiation with Unite and has offered to limit the maximum salary reduction for individual staff members to 10%.
“We regret the need to restructure but it is necessary to continue the long-term existence of Centrepoint,” said Seyi Obakin, the chief executive of Centrepoint. “We have fully cooperated with Unite throughout the process of consultation and we are disappointed that it has lasted longer than it needs to. Our priority is to resolve this as soon as possible so we can continue to help homeless young people.”
In April a survey of 500 homelessness projects by the umbrella body Homeless Link found that half have experienced a reduction in income in the previous year.
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