Branch Secretary :

COVID19: Centrepoint staff want their voice to be heard

Fears and concerns



Unite members at Centrepoint recently met to discuss the response to the Corona Outbreak within their own organisation. Members expressed their fears and concerns around issues which ranged from the implementation of skeleton rotas to the continuing pressure to meet performance targets. There was widespread concern that these pressures were putting safety at risk and the voice of frontline staff was not being heard. Some members also recognised some positive steps but wanted the staff's voice to be a more integrated part of the discussion to ensure that this was implemented throughout the organisation.


It is deeply disappointing that Centrepoint have subsequently rejected Unite's request to discuss these issues and hear directly our member's concerns and recommendations. Unite members and staff in general will see this as a slap in the face for frontline staff who are putting their safety at risk by continuing the work, they do in supporting vulnerable people through this very difficult period. 



Safety of workers and service users


Unite has always made its position clear that it would rather work with Management rather than against them. We believe this to be in the best interests of Centrepoint, the safety of its workers and service users. We would have hoped that given the fact that we are experiencing a global pandemic Senior management would welcome the chance to discuss safety issues with Centrepoint's recognised trade union. Unite believes that Centrepoint's refusal to meet with us sends the wrong message to staff whose input it should welcome and not reject.


Unite recognises that organisations such as Centrepoint may face tough times ahead. It has been recognised that charities' finances will come under enormous pressure as one of the knock-on effects of the Corona outbreak.  Recently the Guardian carried a report on this matter where it stated, "About half of the biggest 25 UK charity-owned fundraising events – which between them raised more than £133m in 2018 – involve the mobilisation of thousands of sponsored participants in runs, walks and cycle rides, with medical research and health charities among the principal beneficiaries."


Legitimate safety concerns


Clearly if social distancing measures remain in place it is unlikely that these events will go ahead. There is also an additional concern that Corporate fundraising will be negatively impacted as a result of the crisis. This will place further burdens on charities like Centrepoint who rely on these funding streams which makes it all the more disappointing that such employers do not want to speak to recognised trade unions when they raise legitimate safety concerns. Such opportunities could be used to form closer bonds which stretch beyond the question of safety and address other vital issues concerning their very survival. Unite will continue to represent member's interests at Centrepoint and elsewhere and in the meantime our message is clear, the best way to cope with this crisis is to engage with staff. Centrepoint could do that today by reversing their decision and agree to hear our concerns.


Nick Auvache



April 30th 2020


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