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Shelter workers begin strike over pay

More than 600 workers at the housing and homeless charity Shelter are beginning an unprecedented fortnight of strike action on Monday in a dispute over pay.

Unite said a 3% pay increase this year has left many of Shelter’s own staff unable to pay their rent.

The union accused the charity’s management of refusing to enter into meaningful negotiations.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is unforgivable that workers at Shelter find themselves actually being haunted by the prospect of being made homeless.

Shelter strike action
Members of the Unite union who work for housing and homeless charity Shelter on the picket line outside their offices in Old Street, London (Yui Mok/PA)

“Shelter has sufficient reserves to pay its hardworking and dedicated staff a decent par rise but it has chosen not to.

“Our members at Shelter will receive Unite’s complete and unyielding support in their fight for a better deal.”

The strike action will end on Friday December 16.

Tim Gutteridge, Shelter’s director of finance and strategy enablement, said: “Regrettably, the cost-of-living crisis is impacting both our colleagues and operational costs, and we are doing everything we can to navigate these challenging economic times.

“Industrial action is not the outcome we wanted after months of talks with the union, but we fully respect people’s right to strike.

“Some of our services and shops will be temporarily impacted during the strike, but we are making every effort to continue to serve those in need of our help. Anyone who needs urgent housing advice should visit www.shelter.org.uk to access our digital advice, and services information.

“Our ambition remains trying to support colleagues through this difficult period, while being able to deliver our frontline services and campaign work.

“This year we gave all staff a pay rise – which for non-management staff means an increase of between 8% and 12.3% – consisting of a 3% consolidated increase and a one-off payment of £1,500.

“As a Real Living Wage employer, Shelter is also implementing the Real Living Wage Foundation’s increase of 10.1% from December 2022, much earlier than required, benefiting the colleagues who receive this at the earliest opportunity.”