Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Shelter faces pressure over pay

May 22 2009
Charity staff are unhappy with increased working hours and the ending of permanent incremental salary rises Housing and homelessness charity Shelter is facing pressure to resolve its ongoing pay and hours conflict with its workforce in the coming weeks after a Labour MP threatened to call for a Commons debate if an amicable solution is not reached. John McDonnell, who sponsored an early day motion in Parliament on the issue in February, urged further negotiations with union members after a meeting with Adam Sampson, Shelter's chief executive, in May. The Hayes and Harlington MP told The Pavement: "Staff working for the housing charity Shelter do vital work ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ both campaigning on homelessness issues and in assisting and advising some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. "Shelter management's attack on its own staff's pay and conditions is the sort of thing you'd expect from the worst of the private sector, and will damage Shelter's vital services and its standing as a campaigning charity". The charity's management reiterated that negotiations could resume on the basis that the representatives of Unite, the trade union representing Shelter's staff, submitted a new proposal. A Shelter spokesperson said: "Mr McDonnell was told that management had made a full and final offer to the union during talks at ACAS last month. The only way we can see a further meeting taking place is if the union has new proposals to put to management." The dispute, which has been going on since January, is about changes to staff contracts that specify an increase of working hours to 37.5 hours per week and the ending of permanent incremental salary rises. In April, Unite members at the charity held four days of strikes, rejecting the management's offer of an increased compensation payment aimed to mitigate the impact of the changes. No new meeting between the union and the charity's management has been arranged yet. Mr McDonnell has also co-signed a letter from 10 MPs expressing their disagreement over the management decision to lay off workers who have refused to agree to the new contracts.