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Homeless boss’s American royal ‘jaunt’, as staff face swingeing pay cuts

While some staff at homeless charity, Centrepoint faced annual pay cuts of up to £10,000, the chief executive was paying court to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in sunny Los Angeles.

Now possible industrial action looms at the troubled London charity for vulnerable young people. 

In the middle of delicate negotiations with staff – with some employees facing up to £10,000 pay cuts - Mr Obakin disappeared.

Unite regional officer, Matt Smith said: ‘It was later discovered that while frontline staff were trying to bargain for a fairer deal, Mr Obakin has been busy ingratiating himself as a member of William and Kate’s Los Angeles entourage’. 

Unite research into Centrepoint’s 2010 public accounts has revealed that the organisation pays six of its senior executives over £60,000-a-year, with one being paid £110,000. 

The Unite Housing Workers’ branch has announced Centrepoint members are to be balloted later this month on possible industrial action over proposals to cut posts and salaries, following an overwhelming vote in a consultative ballot for action. 

Unite said that more than 100 staff at Centrepoint delivering frontline services have been singled out to face severe wage cuts, demotion and redundancy. 

Centrepoint’s original proposal was to impose potential cuts of up to 36 per cent to frontline staff wages, while simultaneously increasing their hours, with the longest serving staff being the worst hit. 

Matt Smith said: ‘Staff fear that by continuing to work for this iconic homelessness charity, they will render themselves homeless, as they won’t have enough money for their mortgages and rent.’ 

‘There are major concerns that these cuts will lead to Centrepoint losing its most experienced, dedicated and skilled staff. As a result, the quality of services it delivers to vulnerable young people will be significantly damaged.’ 

Unite has raised concerns that the proposals discriminate against Centrepoint’s black and minority ethnic staff, who are disproportionately represented in the targeted group. Managers have been unable to either deny or verify this, as it has been unable to locate its records on Equal Opportunities monitoring. 





Note to news editors: 

For further information, please contact Matt Smith 07918 640 587 and/or Unite communications officer, Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 

A link showing Mr Obakin with the Cambridges’ in America:


In the consultative ballot, 82 per cent voted to be balloted for industrial action, This was on a turn out of over 65 per cent. The result was of 88 members balloted, 48 (82 per cent) voted in favour of being balloted and 10 (17 per cent) against. 

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