Branch Secretary :

BAME workers discipined by St Mungos

Deepening problem


When Unite looks at figures for disciplinaries we almost always find more frequent use of disciplinary procedures and higher penalties being doled out to black and minority ethnic workers. Where a draconian culture in which formal disciplinaries are overused the problem may well be worse.  Unite reps are keen to work with management to reduce this unacceptable inequality in the housing sector. Unfortunately, some employers, such as St Mungo’s are not always keen to work with us – to say the least!


Moves against Unite rep


At the same time as they make concerning moves against Unites convenor, himself from a BAME background, management have adopted a hostile approach to a serious problem.


BAME staff put through disciplinary process almost twice as often


Despite repeated assurances from senior management that disciplinary measures against BAME staff are decreasing, recent statistics show that the number of disciplinaries against BAME staff have increased from 34% in 2018 to 57% in 2019.  These statistics show that BAME staff are being put through the disciplinary process at almost twice the level of their white counterparts. The leadership team have not provided any rationale for this inequality.  Unite has raised the draconian use of discipline time and time again but our concerns have continued to be ignored.   


Ethnicity pay gap


Unite will also be requesting an ethnicity pay gap report.  At the JNC meeting on 21st November 2018, HR director Helen Giles noted the zero gender pay gap and St Mungo’s was praised for this.  Unite, however, felt that an ethnicity pay gap report at St Mungo’s would not be positive and whilst it was noted that it was not a legal requirement that St Mungo’s did an ethnicity pay gap report, many progressive organisations were undertaking these.  Unite asked whether St Mungo’s would lead by example and undertake an ethnicity pay gap report.  In response, Helen Giles refused claiming “that a pay gap report would tell St Mungo’s nothing that they do not already know” adding that she knew it would be bad. 


For Unite the union, equalities reporting cannot purely be a means for an organisation to cheer about its successes whilst hiding its failings.  It is clear to Unite that BAME inequality remains a pressing issue in St Mungo’s and a first step in addressing this would be to provide transparency.


Unite has warned that changes currently being championed by management in housing  in our sector can actually make these issues worse and we call for support in holding management to account.


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