The strikers’ union reps last week voted to reject a new deal that members were voting on from Monday until Friday this week.
But by Monday they had been pushed to drop the call for rejection and to make no recommendation on the deal. “The convenor organised over the weekend to change the reject decision to a neutral stance. And to push for a vote on accepting the offer,” a striker told Socialist Worker.
“It’s an absolute disgrace. It was voted in the reps’ meeting that they’d take a position of rejection. A lot of the members are angry.”
The officials’ argument is that a new offer of a top-up of £1,200 per year consolidated is the best that strikers can win.
But this offer is equivalent to about a 4 percent average rise, far below inflation. And unlike the previous offer, which strikers rejected, the latest one removes backdated pay and other benefits such as converting extra annual leave into pay.
Many strikers have this new offer as “humiliating”. One said officials are “taking steps to wind up our dispute”. “Unite officials aren’t openly taking a stance. But there are manoeuvres going on,” they said.
“After trying to ambush members into pausing the strike a few weeks ago, we fought to have members of the strike committee in reps’ meeting. Last Friday was the first meeting we were allowed in.
“But on Monday they organised a confidential meeting and wouldn’t let members of the strike committee in.”
These tactics have boosted St Mungo’s bosses, who have been on the ropes. “Management has gone on the offensive,” the striker said. “They’ve emailed saying because of reps’ neutrality they urge us to accept.”
But strikers aren’t giving up. “Many reps have pushed to get the deal rejected. We want this chucked out and the dispute escalated.” the striker added.
“We’re organising this week for a national demonstration on 2 September in defence of the homeless sector. We’re calling for St Mungo’s chief executive Emma Haddad to resign.”
St Mungo’s strikers have fought courageously. And they can still win and be an inspiration to many others.
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