Branch Secretary :

Deal or no deal at Catalyst Housing

Is the Catalyst People Deal a fair deal?


A proposed new “People Deal” at Catalyst Housing raises real concerns for staff – below we detail the proposals and their impact.  Catalyst derecognised trade unions some years ago and disgracefully continues to refuse to recognise Unite despite our active presence. 


As we have reported on this site staff have recently been forced to take industrial action over workloads, have protested against a harsh and unfair sickness policy and Unite reps have engaged management in an attempt to encourage them to address serious stress issues in the workforce.


While the boss has given Catalyst five stars as a place to work in the Glassdoors website, other staff have expressed a different view!


Unite continues to receive complaints from Catalyst staff about a culture of bullying and a lack of transparency in governance. 


The People Deal explained


Here is what is going on with the proposed People Deal. There are some serious issues with it that all members should be aware of.

When CHL respond to some of the feedback, we will need to meet in the new year to discuss what we want to do about these proposals, and whether or not we want to accept them. Catalyst need our agreement to change our contracts.


Redundancy changes      


  • Management have said that the redundancy changes are to stop "excessive payouts" to some individuals. Most people would agree that it is not a good use of charitable funds to spend £100,000+ on highly paid senior managers leaving the organisation. However, the proposed 9 month cap will impact all staff from the lowest paid to the CEO. This goes beyond tackling "excessive payouts" and is in fact a cost-cutting exercise that will hit all longstanding staff, current and future.
  • A 60 year old caretaker with 20 years service on £21,000 per year will lose over 30% of their redundancy entitlement under the proposals (a loss of over £8,000).
  • If you want to get an idea of whether or not you could lose out due to these changes, click here to download our redundancy calculator tool. (Note this tool is designed to give you an idea of the impact of the changes, it shouldn't be used to make decisions on your future as it may not be 100% accurate! Please ask us for more advice if you need it)
  • Restructures are unfortunately a near constant in the organisation and this will likely increase if the costs of doing so are reduced across the board.


Annual Leave Changes


  • 40% of staff will lose a day's leave every year forever as a result of this change.
  • For a company that is so financially robust (£69m surplus last year) there doesn't seem to be any justification for worsening the work-life balance of a large minority of staff
  • This change could negatively impact all staff. After the 5th year you will lose a day's holiday for all remaining years.
  • Why can't they come up with an annual leave plan that works for everyone?




We are supportive of the pension changes as they do no impact the benefits of current members of the pension scheme and enable those who cannot afford 5% of the salary to participate.


"Extraordinary Leave" Proposals


Whilst we welcome management looking to review these provisions as many members have found them to be inadequate, we are concerned that they will inevitably lead to another "manager lottery" where different managers in different departments have differing interpretations of what leave is permissable and what isn't.


Consultation issues


  • Contractual changes have to be agreed by both sides (employer and employee).
  • Some colleagues still don't understand exactly what has been proposed. We are happy to be contacted to explain anything that is unclear.
  • The timing of the consultation is deliberately designed to limit engagement. The 45-day limit should be extended to cover bank holidays, office closures and the conference which account for 6 working days of the 45-day period.
  • Catalyst Unite are aware of the importance of the ICC during periods of formal consultation like this. We encourage all members to make their views known to their ICC rep and to ensure that the reps have all the support they need in presenting clearly to management the feeling of their members.



12 December 2017


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