St Mungo’s 10 weeks on strike – as rough sleeping soars

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St Mungo’s strikers at yesterday’s 10th Week Festival called for a general strike to kick the Tories out

TEN weeks into their indefinite strike for a 10% pay increase, over 200 St Mungo’s homelessness charity workers and their supporters held a festival in Thomas More Square, near Tower Hill in the City of London yesterday.

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told the rally: ‘I was here on day one and I will be here as long as it takes.
‘There is an attitude that if you work for a charity you should be grateful for low wages but the work you do helping desperate homeless people, those with mental health problems, people leaving prison should be respected and paid properly. Rough sleeping is up by 65% in Westminster. The chaos of London’s housing crisis is behind this.’
He went on to call for tough rent regulations on the private rental sector and a push for powers for local authorities to build more council housing and public ownership of energy companies and Thames Water.
Joe Smith, a St Mungo’s striker from the Brighton office, told News Line: ‘We are now going into week 10 of our indefinite strike.
‘It was initially a four-week strike but senior management wasn’t budging. Senior reps met last Monday with Emma Haddad, the CEO, who wasn’t willing to negotiate and was quite angry and frustrated.
‘The Tories brought in a law to allow agency workers to be brought in to do strikers’ work, but that law was thrown out last month.
‘So, from August 10th, St Mungo’s won’t be able to use agency workers to cover our work, but they get round that by using workers on zero-hours contracts.
‘In an ideal world there shouldn’t be management on £190,000 a year running a homelessness charity. They’ve now brought in a “director of transformation” from the Home Office and he’s on £130,000 a year, while some of our colleagues are having to access food banks and we’ve only been offered 2.5% and three extra days holiday.
‘The TUC should call a general strike because it is not just this workforce, it’s everybody in the public sector affected.’

  • The number of people sleeping rough in London has increased by 9% compared to last year.

Figures released this week by the London Assembly found 3,272 individuals were sleeping rough in the capital from April to June 2023.
This is up from 2,998 individuals from April to June 2022.
Despite an 83.6% male majority, one large homeless shelter said it is seeing an alarming increase in young women turning to it for help.
Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said the number of rough sleepers doesn’t look like it’s getting smaller.
‘Sadly, this appalling pattern of an increasing number of new people having to resort to sleeping rough in London shows no sign of going away,’ he said.
‘London is at the sharp end of issues we are seeing across the country; namely a huge lack of genuinely affordable housing, soaring rents and homelessness services struggling to make ends meet.
‘The government’s target of ending rough sleeping in England by next year is now looking completely out of reach.’