Monday, 17 October 2011

Prince William’s homeless charity Centrepoint faces strike action

Prince William’s homeless charity Centrepoint faces strike action

30 September 2011
The homeless charity Centrepoint was urged to enter into last-minute talks with Unite, after the majority of its members voted overwhelmingly to strike in a dispute over staff losing thousands of pounds a year in pay.
Unite, the largest union in the country, has asked the conciliation service Acas to intervene as managers seem intent on imposing pay cuts which could see some of the more than 100 staff losing thousands of pounds, while top executives will have their pay ring-fenced from cuts.
Unite’s members voted by 70 per cent to 30 per cent for strike action at the charity, which looks after homeless young people, and its members will meet on Monday (3 October) to decide strike dates.
The charity’s patron is Prince William and Centrepoint hit the headlines when its chief executive Seyi Obakin left the pay negotiations to join the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their visit to America. Unite described Mr Obakin’s trip as ‘an unnecessary sycophantic jaunt’.
Unite regional officer Matt Smith said: ”There is a clear mandate supporting the view that our members are not prepared to accept that the lowest paid frontline staff should take savage pay cuts, while the senior management keep their pay at the same level.
”Unite calls on the senior management to get back round the table to resolve this potentially damaging dispute at one of Prince William’s favourite charities.
”We hope the board will intervene and bring this iconic charity back from the brink of disaster. We need to prevent this charity from carrying out the cruellest of ironies - cutting our members’ pay by so much it could potentially force them to join the very  homeless that they do so much to help.
”We have a members’ meeting on Monday to decide on strike dates. Unite has contacted Acas in an attempt to resolve this, but the management is being completely unreasonable and putting the future of the charity at major risk.
”At the last meeting we had at Centrepoint the senior management was confident our members would not vote for strike action and they would bat off any negative publicity. This is a dangerous under estimation of our members’ feelings. The senior management's naive industrial relations attitude is a real concern for Unite.“
Unite said that more than 100 staff at Centrepoint have been singled out to face severe wage cuts, demotion and redundancy.
Notes to news editors:
For further information please contact Matt Smith 07918 640 587 and/or Unite communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
In the ballot, 69.4 per cent voted for strike action and 30.6 per cent voted against. The number of ballot papers returned was 36, with 25 in favour of strike action and 11 against.
Unite research into Centrepoint’s 2010 public accounts has revealed that the organisation pays six of its senior executives over £60,000-a-year, with one being paid £110,000.

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