Oxfam’s first ever strike suspended after charity offers ‘improved pay deal’ | Oxfam
Oxfam’s first strike in its 81-year history has been suspended, after the charity offered an “improved pay deal to staff”, the Unite union says.
Unite has announced that strikes scheduled for 14, 15, 16 and 17 December have been postponed as an act of good faith, while its members are balloted on the revised offer.
Hundreds of Oxfam workers began 17 days of strike action last Friday and Saturday, with Unite saying the strike of almost 500 workers would affect offices and 200 Oxfam shops.
Oxfam and Unite held talks at conciliation service Acas last week.
An Oxfam spokesperson said: “We welcome the progress made during talks last week and are pleased that the strike action has been suspended.”
If the pay offer is rejected, strike action will begin again on 20 December, Unite warns. Strikes had also been scheduled for 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 December, which could disrupt Oxfam’s takings over the crucial Christmas trading period.
Unite regional coordinating officer Jamie Major said: “Unite has been clear from the outset that this dispute could and should be resolved through negotiations.
“Following talks on Friday, an improved offer was made and therefore Unite has suspended action to allow its members to be balloted on the proposed deal.”
Unite claimed last month that average wages at Oxfam have fallen by 21% in real terms since 2018. This “poverty pay” meant some staff were using food banks or unable to afford to pay their rent.
Last Friday, an Oxfam spokesperson said the charity understands the frustration of colleagues who are facing a steeply rising cost of living.
“We are proud to be a Real Living Wage employer and are doing what we can to address colleagues’ concerns within the limits of the resources we have available,” they added.
About three-quarters of Oxfam’s 541 shops were open on Friday, despite the strike, the charity said last week.