St Mungo’s pickets on Monday morning making plans for raising solidarity at Unite conference this week in Bristol

St Mungo’s homelessness strikers have overwhelmingly rejected a measly pay offer.

On a 77 percent turnout, the Unite union members voted 62.2 percent against a 3 percent deal, which included extra days of annual leave, but which wasn’t backdated to last year. Bosses at the charity had previously offered a tiny 2.25 percent for this year but nothing for last year on top of the 1.75 percent given by the government, and an extra £700 one-off payment.

The strikers were right to vote against the deal—3 percent is nothing when RPI inflation is at 11.7 percent. But the new offer does show that bosses have more in their pockets than they claim. Previously CEO Emma Haddad said the 2.25 ­percent was all the strikers would be offered.

And, despite holding question and answer sessions, Haddad and her senior management have ­continued to show their true colours. During one recent session, Haddad snapped and shouted at some of the participants. This follows her outburst at Unite reps in a meeting earlier.

Striker Zak Cochrane talked to Socialist Worker from the picket line on Monday. He said, “Last week’s offer was rejected, and now we’re back on the picket lines. “Members wouldn’t accept an offer that was essentially 3 percent with a few rubbish extras added in, such as three more days annual leave.”

“We’ve been meeting face to face in strike committees, which has been vital in keeping people together and the strike alive.” Zak added that strike committees also ensure that union convenors are held “accountable.”

“The vote on whether to accept a 3 percent pay increase didn’t really need to go out to members when it was only about 0.75 percent more than the last rejected pay offer. We’ve been demanding 10 percent, so union convenors shouldn’t be trying to get us to accept so much less,” he added.

Zak added that the indefinite strike at St Mungos can set an example to the rest of the trade union movement. “We are heading to the Unite conference this week and are hoping to make a splash. We were also at the educators’ NEU union rally on Wednesday of last week, which we came away from buzzing.

“Solidarity is crucial because the government and the employers are digging their heels in. For more disputes to escalate like we have, solidarity is needed. We need to make sure that no one is getting starved back to work,” he added.

It’s clear the strikers are standing firm against bad offers. They must stay united until they get the ­minimum they want—at least a 10 percent pay rise.

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