Fair treatment for workers in the community and voluntary sector

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2016 Community Service Group Conference
27 October 2015

Conference notes with concern the growth of poor working practices in the community and voluntary sector.

Increasingly the sector is providing support for those who the statutory agencies are unable to help, or where there is no government/local authority priority or duty to provide care.

However, cuts in funding – both from government sources and individual donors – has created a situation where staff working in the sector are pressurised into working longer hours, for less pay and with little flexibility or account taken of caring or other home responsibilities.


• Lack of job security is endemic, with zero hours and short term contracts commonplace;

• Unreasonable demands by managers, who themselves are under pressure to deliver services with limited resources, frequently create an atmosphere of bullying and harassment;

• Staff are expected to work over and above their contracted hours, including at weekends and in the evening, with no financial or time recompense;

• Staff are reluctant to complain, out of a sense of duty to the organisation and for fear of repercussions if they are perceived as a difficult employee;

• The resultant high staff turnover, stress related sick leave and inefficient working practices place further pressure on remaining staff, and the related costs lead to further funding shortages.

Conference believes that staff working in the community and voluntary sector have the right to fair treatment, regardless of the charitable or other status of their employing organisation.

Conference therefore calls upon the service group executive to:

1)gather information on unfair and punitive working practices;

2)use the information gathered to provide further guidance to branches on reasonable working practices;

3)supplement the guidance with an awareness campaign for members and potential new members working in the sector on the support that is available through UNISON.