Defend Shelter - in Shelter

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					                                                  Defend Shelter staff’s
                                                     pay and conditions
                                                         Defend Shelter
in Shelter                                            Support those who support
                                                           those in bad housing

Senior management are attempting to implement                campaigning work which is meant to be informed by
the most serious attack on staff pay and conditions          the experiences of badly housed or homeless people.
in Shelter’s 41 year history. If pushed through these        Front line staff are increasingly less able to pass on
cuts will also fundamentally change the way in which         these experiences to staff in campaigning and policy
Shelter delivers its services. It will transform the na-     because of top-down pressure to deliver contractual
ture of Shelter, which was built on the back of “Cathy       targets.
Come Home” to campaign against bad housing and
homelessness, into an organisation which prioritises         These attacks have dragged down staff morale. Shel-
chasing government contracts above all else. The vast        ter staff feel betrayed by a senior management team
majority of Shelter’s dedicated staff is fundamentally       who seem to care little about the services delivered to
opposed to these changes.                                    those who are homeless or badly housed. The cuts will
                                                             severely undermine Shelter’s ability to retain staff and
Management are pressurising staff to accept:                 with them, essential and long standing expertise.

* Abolition of incremental pay                               Shelter staff, like many in the not-for-profit sector, have
* An extension of the working week which amounts to          over the years willingly made financial sacrifices to
3 working weeks per year at no extra pay                     work in this field because it is important to them. We
* Downgrading of posts throughout Shelter’s housing          are extremely angry that our senior management team
advice and support services with the same to come in         now tell us our pay and conditions are too generous.
non-service divisions                                        They earn top-tax bracket salaries and will be materi-
* Changes to redundancy policy involving a massive           ally unaffected by these changes. What’s more, they
reduction in salary protection for redeployed staff          refuse to deny rumours that they paid themselves an
                                                             increase just before announcing cuts to the rest of the
Staff are now being told they must sign to ‘agree’ a re-     organisation. Senior management claim they are only
duction in their terms and conditions. If they refuse to     paid the market rate for what they do. And yet they are
sign, management are threatening to implement the            seeking to drive down the market pay rate for the rest
changes without consent by sacking staff and offering        of us. Staff are genuinely astonished at this hypocrisy.
re-employment on new contracts with reduced terms
and conditions.                                              The cuts will make it difficult for many staff members
                                                             to maintain mortgage and rent payments, a bitter iro-
Effect on Shelter                                            ny for us considering Shelter’s work. Staff members
                                                             worst affected will be those with child care costs. They
The attacks will directly affect the quality of advice and   not only have to absorb a significant pay cut but also
support given to some of the most vulnerable in so-          will have increased child care costs to bear as a result
ciety – those who are homeless or badly housed. In           of longer working hours.
future, this work will be done by lower paid and less
skilled staff. What is more they will be under pressure      Management’s case for change
to “tick boxes” for contract purposes rather than pri-
oritise high quality, independent advice and support         Senior management claim that there is ‘no more
services to those who need them.                             money’, we are ‘too expensive’ and there is a need to
                                                             reduce core costs. They say we live in a ‘contract en-
This will seriously impact upon Shelter’s policy and         vironment’ where Shelter has to compete for statutory
funding sources. This means, according to them, that       there is still no guarantee that bids will be won. If Shel-
unit costs have to fall to win contracts.                  ter goes down this road and therefore moves away
                                                           from providing high quality independent housing ad-
But senior management also want to ‘re-engineer’ the       vice and support, its voluntary contributions are likely
business – in other words, Shelter. In order to fulfil     to fall. People donate to Shelter because they believe
Government contracts, they say that the organisation       it helps those in housing need.
will have to deliver in multiple areas of legal advice.
They claim if staff do not keep up with the times, then    Shelter management like to quote Shelter’s radical
many more jobs will be lost than under the present         campaigning past but are comfortable to be associ-
proposals.                                                 ated closely with Government policy even when it is
                                                           decimating advice and support services and making it
What we say                                                harder and harder for those who are homeless or badly
                                                           housed to access good quality, independent services.
We completely reject the basis and detail of their
assumptions.                                               Shelter staff are concerned at being told there is no
                                                           more money for services, yet there appears to be mon-
Shelter has a turnover of just under £50 million a year    ey for highly paid consultants and a swanky refurbish-
with £10 million in reserves. Only around 20 per cent      ment of the head office.
is statutory funding from Government.
We don’t agree that statutory contracts should be          Staff are committed to Shelter remaining an independ-
obtained at any price, nor are they a major portion of     ent organisation campaigning against homelessness
Shelter’s income. These contracts mean a ‘race to the      and bad housing. Each of management’s proposals
bottom’ in terms of staff pay and conditions of those      hits different sections of the workforce but all will un-
organisations who bid for them.                            dermine Shelter’s work and our conditions. That is
                                                           why we are standing together in opposition to these at-
But even if Shelter could demonstrate that it paid its     tacks. Therefore we call on management to withdraw
staff the least and therefore had the lowest unit costs,   their “organisational changes” in their entirety.

  What you should do
  * Send messages of support to union members in Shelter: and
  c/o Alan Scott, T&GWU, Woodberry, 218 Green Lanes, N4 2HB

  * Send messages of protest to Shelter’s senior management team.
  Please send hard copies and emails to Adam Sampson, Shelter, 88 Old St, London, EC1V 9HU . Ask that it be forwarded to the Board of the Directors and copy
  it to Shelter stewards at the above address.

  * Pass resolutions in your trade union branches supporting stewards and condemning these attacks.

  We say:
  * No compulsory redundancies
  * No downgrading of posts
  * No pay cuts
  * Defend the jobs, pay and conditions of all Shelter staff
  * Don’t allow bids for Government funding to change Shelter’s core values

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