Oxfam in ‘hypocrisy’ row after charity pays at least one worker £340,000 in a year – while struggling staff use food banks, prompting first-ever strike
- Around eight per cent of staff used foodbanks and 22 percent could not pay rent
- While about 34 per cent had to choose between heating and eating
Oxfam are in a ‘hypocrisy’ row after the charity paid one worker at least £340,000 in a year.
The payout was made in the year that the anti-poverty charity’s staff have had to rely on food banks to survive, which prompted the organisation’s first-ever strike over poor pay.
Around eight per cent of staff have used foodbanks, 22 per cent could not pay their rent, and 34 per cent had to choose between heating and eating, according to a union survey.
But the organisation’s had an income of £373 million and reserves of £44.6 million in 2021/2022, according to accounts.
The charity coughed up £340,000 to £349,000 in the year to March, 31, 2022, to a single overseas worker.
The payout was made in the year that the anti-poverty charity’s staff have had to rely on food banks to survive, which prompted the organisation’s first-ever strike over poor pay
The charity coughed up £340,000 to £349,000 in the year to March, 31, 2022, to a single overseas worker. This eyewatering sum is almost three times Oxfam boss Danny Sriskandarajah’s salary.
This eyewatering sum is almost three times Oxfam boss Danny Sriskandarajah’s salary in the same year.
Another overseas staffer was also paid £150,000 to £159,000, according to accounts.
The reason for payment is unclear, but according to reports, the sum ‘reflects packages which include redundancy payments made to international staff as a result of organisational changes and as required under national legislation in the countries where they were based’.
The accounts also say that long-term expat staff may get cash ‘towards the cost of education for up to three children’ and living allowances in ‘very expensive countries’.
The note adds: ‘The figures for the four overseas-based employees earning over £100,000 include employees with pay set in USD and include payments for accommodation, redundancy and gratuity paid in lieu of pension.’
The charity expects around 500 Unite members to walk out for 17 days in December, which the union claims 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 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 percent in favour of strike action in a ballot with an 82 percent turnout after they rejected a pay offer Unite said was worth £1,750 or 6 percent
Unite’s members voted by 83 percent in favour of strike action in a ballot with an 82 percent turnout after they rejected a pay offer Unite said was worth £1,750 or 6 percent (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.
READ MORE: 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
‘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.’
MailOnline has approached Oxfam for a comment.
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