Socialist Worker

No shelter for bosses as charity workers walk out on strike

Issue No. 2099

Around 450 workers at the Shelter housing charity struck for 48 hours last week, and were were set to strike again on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

The workers, members of the Unite union, are fighting against the imposition of longer hours and low pay. The strike was solid at offices around the country.

Many of the workers reported that they are particularly concerned at how the changes will affect the services they offer and the way they are delivered.

The picket line at Shelter's Old Street headquarters in east London saw 15 people, while there were at least ten at the City offices.

Strikers are furious at their management's restructuring plans. Workers said it isn't simply a matter of pay, but the atmosphere in the charity as a whole. The strike was as strong as when they struck for two days last month. One striker told Socialist Worker, 'We are livid and everyone is up for a fight'.

Alan Scott, Unite regional industrial organiser, said, 'Workers are frustrated that this seems to be the only way to communicate the depth of their frustration over management's insistence that their pay and terms must alter for the worse.'

Shelter workers in London joined the central London rally called by striking public sector unions (» The day we stood up to New Labour). One Shelter striker said, 'We feel we are part of the same struggle with the teachers and other strikers.'

The strikes last month were the first in the 41 years of the charity's existence. They are fighting management plans to downgrade posts and impose longer hours for no extra pay.

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Tue 29 Apr 2008, 18:01 BST
Issue No. 2099
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