Shelter Homeless Charity Central Housing Group

Shelter under fire for paying ‘derisory’ wages to staff

The charity Shelter, which regularly campaigns against lettings agencies and landlords, is bracing itself for a strike next week – and it’s accused of ‘derisory’ pay levels.

Three days of strike action begin on Tuesday by 400 members of the union Unite, who work for the charity.

The action follows what the union calls a ‘derisory’ pay offer of a one per cent pay increase plus a one off one per cent payment.

“Unite members are seeking an increase of 3.5 per cent the retail price index (RPI) as of April 2018 (the annual pay date) or a flat rate of a £1,100 increase for all workers” says the union.

It claims that its members at Shelter have suffered “a real terms pay cut of 11 per cent since 2010 because of a series of below inflation pay increases.”

It adds: “Shelter recorded a surplus of £1 million last year and has £15.7 million in reserves.The strikes could seriously affect the organisation’s ability to offer advice and support to the homeless and people in precarious housing in the pre-Christmas period.”

Unite pledges that is the dispute is not resolved, it will hold further strike action in the new year.

Unite regional officer Peter Storey says: “Our members are not greedy. They are not looking to get richer, they are just trying to keep their heads above water. Unite’s members at Shelter have faced a year on year pay squeeze since the beginning of the decade and this year’s derisory pay offer was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

“It is entirely unfair that the wages of Shelter workers have been declining at the same time that the charity’s reserves have been increasing. The management at Shelter should stop trying to pressurise our members not to go on strike and instead enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute.”

A spokesperson for Shelter told Letting Agent Today last evening: “There is currently a dispute between members of the Unite union and Shelter over pay.  But we are all still working together to resolve the dispute and very much hope to avoid any disruption to our services.”

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