Hundreds of Oxfam workers to go on strike for the first time ever in row over pay as union blasts real term wage cut of 21% while charity has cash reserves of £44m
- Members of Unite will walk out for 17 days in December
- It recently rejected an offer from Oxfam for a 6% pay bump
Hundreds of Oxfam workers are set to go on strike next month over pay, as the union blasts the charity for real term wage cut while it has cash reserves of £44m.
Members of Unite will walk out for 17 days in December which the union claim is the first strike in the charity’s history.
Unite said Oxfam staff, which includes workers in the charity’s shops, offices and headquarters in Oxford, are angry that average wages have been cut by 21% in real terms since 2018.
The union said that Oxfam’s last reported cash reserves stood at £44.6 million in 2022, the highest they have been in at least five years.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham (pictured) said that Oxfam wants to end poverty and says it is on the side of unions. Yet its own workers report having to use foodbanks
Oxfam HQ in Oxford. Unite’s members voted by 83% in favour of strike action in a ballot with an 82% turnout after they rejected a pay offer Unite said was worth £1,750 or 6%
Unite’s members voted by 83% in favour of strike action in a ballot with an 82% turnout after they rejected a pay offer Unite said was worth £1,750 or 6% (whichever is higher), plus a one-off taxed payment of £1,000 for the lowest earners.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘Oxfam wants to end poverty and says it is on the side of unions.
‘Yet its own workers report having to use foodbanks, it refuses to engage with the only union representing its workforce and it is considering using unpaid labour to break a strike.
‘This is rank hypocrisy from an organisation that should know better.’
‘Oxfam is an extremely wealthy organisation and can afford to put forward an acceptable offer without impacting its charity work in the slightest.
‘Its workers have their union’s total and unflinching support as they strike to make sure that happens.’
The workers will take strike action impacting Oxfam offices and more than 200 shops on December 8-9, 14-17, 20-24, 26-31.
Industrial action will intensify if the dispute is not resolved, Unite warned.
An Oxfam GB spokesperson said: ‘We are obviously disappointed that Unite members have voted to strike.
‘We are acutely aware of the pressures colleagues face as a result of the rising cost of living and we have done what we can to address this.
‘We chose to bring forward paying the latest real Living Wage increases, and prioritised lower paid colleagues in this year’s award.
‘We deeply regret that we could not do more but the settlement Unite is asking for is simply not affordable for Oxfam at a time when many of the communities we work with around the world are also facing sharply rising costs.
‘We will now do everything possible to minimise the impact on our work and to support colleagues over the coming weeks.’
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