Salvation Army cuts pay of workers at Sunderland homeless hostel

Swan Lodge Salvation Army hostel, in High Street East, Sunderland
Swan Lodge Salvation Army hostel, in High Street East, Sunderland
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A CHARITY which helps some of the most needy is slashing the pay of its workers.

Union bosses have criticised the Salvation Army’s decision to bring in regional pay for staff at its homelessness hostels, claiming it will put them on the poverty line.

The new regional pay structure came into force at the start of the month, bringing with it cuts in pay for hostel workers – including at the Salvation Army’s Swan Lodge in Sunderland.

The charity says the cuts are in response to changes in funding for homelessness services from central and local Government.

Clare Williams, Unison regional convenor, said: “These changes will result in workers doing the same job in different areas of the country for different levels of pay, which in itself is unfair.

“However, it is aiming to achieve this by implementing severe cuts to pay and service conditions without properly considering the effects on its own workforce and the services it provides to vulnerable people locally.

“The charity says the changes are to secure future contracts for homeless services paid for by the Supporting People Grant.

“The irony is that the impact of these cuts upon its own staff will put many on the poverty line and some at risk of losing their own homes.”

The Echo has reported how more people than ever are turning to Sunderland’s food bank project, which is supported by the Salvation Army.

A charity spokeswoman said 1,300 staff had been consulted over the move and meetings had been held with Unison representatives.

She said: “This listening process proved successful when we entered formal consultations, as staff made valuable contributions to the approved recommendations.

“The main recommendations included changes to the current staffing model and the introduction of zonal pay rates based on relevant market rates. We have taken steps to introduce cushioning to help impact the introduction of zonal salaries.”