Tony Greenstein | 13 August 2023 | Post Views:

 Support St Mungo’s Workers  Don’t Allow This Corporate Charity to Break the Strike With Agency Scabs

Strike Rally on August 10th

Last Thursday I attended a mass rally in support of the St Mungo’s strikers outside their plush headquarters in East London, located near luxury yachts and St Katharine Docks. There were hundreds of supporters there and a fierce determination to ensure that the trustees and management, who almost all come from the corporate and financial sector, are not allowed to break a strike of low paid workers.

Please Give Generously to St Mungo’s Strike Fund here
Cheques payable to Unite Housing Workers LE/1111 Branch
or send money to
Unite Housing Workers LE/1111 Branch
Reference St Mungos Hardship fund
Account number: 20040626
Sort code: 608301

Emma Haddad, their Chief Executive Officer, was on £189K according to their last accounts. St Mungo’s has refused to divulge her current salary so we can be certain that she is now receiving over £200K a year, that is 10 times more than St Mungo’s low paid workers.

Haddad has absolutely no experience of the third sector, still less homelessness. She has come from the Home Office where, by all accounts, she had an appalling record.

Whilst the strike has been on St Mungo’s have appointed a Transformation Director, Sean Palmer, also from the Home Office. There seems to be a revolving door between the Home Office and St Mungo’s.

The job was advertised as starting at £130,000 but it is understood that Palmer  negotiated closer to £160,000. It is the usual story. More money for the rich whilst telling its workers they have no money left for them.

Rally at St Mungo’s HQ

Palmer was previously involved in the Napier barracks scandal whereby asylum seekers were unlawfully detained and when at the Ministry of Justice he was involved in the shutting down of 100 courts thus creating a massive backlog in people having their cases heard.

Haddad, their CEO, and Palmer oversaw deathly and inhumane accommodation at the Home Office for refugees.  How one wonders are they appropriate for running homelessness accommodation?

Unite lead officer Onay Kasab speaking at the St Mungos strike rally 

As for the trustees, they are almost all are from corporate accounts and finance backgrounds with barely any homelessness experience between them.

True to form these corporate scoundrels first attempted to break the strike using agency staff. When the High Court outlawed that particular practice they decided to hurriedly appointing appoint temps to permanent posts, at great expense, to try and break the strike. What is clear is that this is not about  money but the viciously anti-union and anti-worker mentality of those who occupy corporate boardrooms.

Rally at  St Mungo’s HQ

St Mungo’s strikers have been on strike since the end of May. They are currently on week 11. Their demand is for a 10% pay rise for all.

None of this has stopped St Mungo’s PR boasting that ‘we’re all united in our values and our aim of ending homelessness.’  So who are what they call their  Team Members?

Rally at St Mungo’s HQ

Who Are St Mungo’s Executive Directors?

Emma Haddad, the Chief Executive Officer comes directly from the Home Office where she was responsible for housing for asylum seekers and refugees and before that she worked for the DWP and before that ‘working with EU partners on the migration and asylum agenda.’ Implementing racist migration and asylum policies is her forte

David Fisher – The only Executive Director with any experience in the housing field

David Fisher, the Executive Director of Services, previously worked in three London based charities; Single Homeless Project; Housing Services Agency and Broadway.

Jonathan Manuel – his experience of drink is no doubt invaluable in helping the homeless to become addicted to alcohol

Jonathan Manuel, the Executive Director of Finance, has spent most of his career to date at FTSE 100 drinks company Diageo. Clearly he is well qualified to work for St Mungo’s.

Joanna Killian – no experience in housing but plenty as a partner of crooked accountants KPMG – St Mungo’s favourite company

Who are the Trustees?

Well Joanna Killian, who is – Chair of Trustees, is Chief Executive of Surrey County Council. Before that she was a Partner and Head of Local Government and Devolution at crooked accountants KPMG LLP, who seem a favoured company with St Mungo’s.

Rolande Anderson

Then there is Rolande Anderson, who is following a senior career in the civil service. Rolande is Vice Chair at London Metropolitan University and an Associate of the College of Policing. Handy experience if you are dealing with vagrants as the Police term the homeless.

Alexander Beidas – commercial lawyer

There is Alexandra Beidas, who as a commercial lawyer and Global Head of Employment and Incentives at Linklaters, a big city solicitors, has a wealth of experience walking past the homeless each day.

Rob Bradshaw

Not forgetting Rob Bradshaw who is currently Client Director at Gate One, a digital and business transformation consultancy. He has previously worked as a management consultant for PwC and KPMG (again).

Dan Corry – Vulture Capitalist – Gone Missing – Please Report if Spotted

And another housing and homelessness expert is Dan Corry, who seems to have gone missing since the beginning of the strike. Dan is also Chief Executive of New Philanthropy Capital, having held a variety of posts in public policy and economics including as Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister on the Economy from 2007 to 2010.

Darren Johnson – Asset Stripper – Another Trustee Gone Missing

Darren Johnson is another trustee who has gone missing since the dispute began. As Chief Operating Officer at Impax Asset Management, Darren adds to the roster of housing experts at St Mungo’s. Impax Asset specialises in investing in companies involved in the transition to a more sustainable economy. Prior to this Darren was Head of Operations at Talisman Global Asset Management.

Lorraine Mealings

Lorraine Mealings is one of the few who doesn’t have a corporate finance background. Not that she has any experience of homelessness. Lorraine joined BCHA, a housing association as Chief Executive in November 2022 and prior to that was Director of Housing at Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.

Philip Moore’s qualifications to sit on the board of a homeless charity are unquestioned. His background is as a finance professional. His most recent full-time role being Group Finance Director with the Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Ltd, which he held until 2017. Philip is an experienced non-executive within both the third and private sectors and includes appointments with North Hertfordshire College, Skipton Building Society and the real estate company, Connells.

The Elusive Teddy Nyahasha

Not forgetting of course the elusive Teddy Nyahasha, who is Brighton based. Teddy too brings a wealth of experience to a homeless charity as the CEO of OneFamily, the UK’s third largest mutual, which is based in West Street, Brighton. Teddy previously held a series of high-profile roles within start-ups and global multi-billion-pound household names such as Ernst & Young, Aviva and Royal London as well as working as a specialist adviser at the FSA.

Teddy is a qualified Chartered Accountant, a Certified Financial Risk Manager and has an MBA from the London Business School.

The elusive Darren Johnson

Teddy is however shy by nature which is why, when strikers have come down to his office to demonstrate he has refused to come out and speak to them. Quite understandable in the circumstances. As one striker told me:

He is a trustee of the organisation. They say they are transparent, but when we try to speak to the trustees we are either ignored or referred back to St Mungo’s CEO. If he doesn’t want to be involved in the work of the organisation why is he a trustee. 

It is a good question and the answer is not hard to find. Charity is the conscience of the rich. Doing ‘good works’ is a way of compensating for the day to day business of exploiting their workers. Being a trustee of a charity is a good way for corporations and their executives to demonstrate how caring they are. It is all about PR and branding.

Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith too is more than acquainted with the homeless. He was a Board and Executive Director of the National Audit Office from 2015 to 2020. Prior to this, he was a partner with KPMG (clearly a favourite spawning ground for St Mungo’s) where he provided restructuring advice to governments and banks, and led KPMG’s European Transaction Services mergers and acquisitions support business. Restructuring is finance jargon for sacking people and getting those remaining to do more work for the same pay.

Helen Walters – the odd one out who isn’t a financial parasite though she is complicit in forcing sick people to work

Then there is Dr Helen Walters who is indeed an odd fish. She comes with no financial or asset stripping experience. Instead she is a doctor specialising in Public Health and John Watts too doesn’t seem to have the requisite City experience being an award winning writer, musician and actor.

Mariam Sani

Not forgetting of course the Independent Committee Member, Mariam Sani, whose background according to her bio is in the affordable housing sector. She initially worked for a law firm before moving to a Registered Provider. Before you get too worried, we are assured that Mariam has over 15 years of experience in the niche area of securitisation/property charging and her skills range across to governance and risk, being responsible for the Asset & Liabilities Register and Insurance within her current role as a Head of Securitisation and Asset Control at Legal & General Affordable Homes. One suspects that her experience of affordable homes, at least to the homeless is strictly limited.

John Watts – one of only 2 Trustees with no expertise in dodgy finance – it’s a mystery what he’s doing on the trustee board unless he is someone’s crony

These are the potted bios of the current board of trustees and they help explain why it is that St Mungo’s has chosen to break the strike rather than pay a living wage.

Brighton Mungo’s strike leaflet 2020

The current strike at St Mungo’s is not the first you will be pleased to hear. In March 2020 workers went on strike against what I called at the time a ‘Dickensian Employer’.

St Mungo’s was trying to reduce the number of experienced, higher paid staff in favour of junior staff who were less well paid. I asked then ‘What employer wants to sack employees with experience other than one for whom providing a service to clients means less than cutting costs?’

St Mungo’s strike picket 2020

Staff told me of a ‘reign of terror’ in which workers were afraid to go off sick because people who got sick also got dismissed. So the staff started to book their time off sick as leave.

Working with the Home Office to Deport Migrants

St Mungo’s first came to my attention when some of its outreach workers were found to be passing on information to the Home Office about which homeless migrants they could deport.

Immigration enforcement staff accompanied outreach workers in London before the High Court ruled the policy of deporting homeless migrants from the EU was unlawful.

Brighton rally in support of the 2020 Mungo’s strike

At first St Mungo’s simply lied and denied everything. It was only after had been found out that it was forced to apologise. As the Public Interest Law Centre stated:

“The findings of St Mungo’s internal review have vindicated the work of migrants and homeless rights campaigners who have spent years trying to hold the charity to account for collaborating with immigration enforcement in the detention and deportation of homeless people,”

“St Mungo’s has admitted misleading the press, campaigners and, most importantly, rough sleepers about the way they worked with the Home Office.

I asked ‘What Kind of Homeless Charity is it which Works with the Home Office to Deport Homeless Migrants? Step Forward Howard Sinclair – their £160,000 union busting CEO.’

Sinclair accidentally sent an email to a Unite official in which he wrote:

No need to change tac (sic). Our strategy should be to…stop more people joining and erode support.’

howard sinclair – st mungo’s ceo

Sinclair was running a union busting operation. Despite this St Mungo’s claimed that ‘We actively encourage our staff to join the union of their choice’. They really have no shame.

Rally at  St Mungo’s HQ

However according to the Telegraph it was all previous Unite General Secretary Len McLuskey’s fault: ‘Homelesses charity accuses Len McCluskey of putting lives at risk with strike’

Tony Greenstein

See St Mungo’s strike in the media

Staff at a homelessness charity are holding a ‘mega rally’ against their toxic bosses – (The Canary)

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Tony Greenstein

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