By Max Clarke
Unite, the union behind a recent call for a strike at Prince William’s homeless charity, Centrepoint, are failing to represent their members, the charity has said.
The union stated on Thursday that its members had ‘voted overwhelmingly’ to strike over alleged pay cuts. However, a representative from Centrepoint has responded to the news, suggesting the ballot results unrepresentative of the charity’s staff.
Just 36 of 60 Unite members employed by Centrepoint responded to a ballot for industrial action, following negotiation regarding a proposed restructure of Centrepoint’s London services. Of those, 25 voted in favour of action — 12% of the total number of Centrepoint staff.
“Unite has failed to engage with us throughout the process, resulting in a failure to represent the best interests of its members,” said Seyi Obakin, Centrepoint’s Chief Executive. “The union chooses to use out-of-date accounts information to suit its argument and inflated claims of strike support, which just shows how driven it is to damage Centrepoint’s reputation. In fact, only 12% of Centrepoint staff have indicated their intention to strike”.
During five months of negotiation with Unite, Centrepoint made two improved proposals, resulting in a maximum salary reduction of 10% for any member of staff.
Government spending cuts have resulted in Centrepoint losing a third of its contracts to deliver housing and support for homeless young people. Having already restructured its head office and north east services, the decision to restructure its London services was necessary to ensure the long-term existence of Centrepoint, which Unite agreed with.