CVT issues Ultimatum to Co-workers
On 13 May 2014, CVT issued a simple ultimatum to all its co-workers. We paraphrase:
‘Leave the community, unless you are one of those we choose to employ, on whatever conditions we see fit to offer’
This came without any consultation or dialogue with those who are the community, Co-workers and villagers, despite a 15-month mediated process in which it was believed that a trusting and collaborative relationship with the charity was being built. Over this period, Botton had made considerable strides, choosing to engage with the CVT-imposed manager to achieve the requirements of the regulators. The rationale for this precipitate action was based on questionable tax concerns. In its correspondence with residents’ relatives the CVT reassures them that: “We do not see the changes as a threat to our unique communities”. However, we feel we have a responsibility to speak the truth to you: these changes will transform Botton beyond recognition.
Grave threat to Botton
We should remember that in CVT’s recent Groundswell consultation process, it was the co-working and life-sharing model that was overwhelmingly cited by both residents and their families as the most essential and valued feature of Botton. Yet these are the very elements now at stake. None of the key stakeholders have been consulted on this momentous decision. The residents, their relatives, the members of the charity and the co-workers have all been presented with a fait accompli. The charity has stated that it sees no need to call an EGM on the question. The residents have received no meaningful or accessible information at all.
Ultimatum threatens Co-workers
The co-workers have responded asking for more information, and appealed repeatedly to CVT to withdraw the ultimatum and to start re-building the trust essential for a meaningful, open and transparent dialogue. Their reply of 29th May simply restates their position, and reproaches the co-workers for not engaging in dialogue - a Co-worker had left the meeting as they were too upset to listen on to the proclamations of the CVT Chairwoman. What dialogue can exist when backed into the corner? The Co-workers indeed feel bullied, intimidated and threatened. The only option CVT offers is to do as CVT says, or leave - no discussion.
A way forward
We call on CVT to remove the ultimatum, and engage in open and honest dialogue. The clear wishes of all the key stake-holders, and the founding charter of the charity should be the starting point. Creative solutions are possible!
Will you help us? In this climate, we are indebted to those who came together as Action for Botton to deal with replies, offers of support and donations. Please use their e-mail address or The Danby Vicarage postal address to reply.
We really need assistance and help! CVT is using considerable sums of charitable money for expensive legal and tax advice. We have meagre financial resources. However, we believe that our strongest resource is you.
Botton Village is a source of inspiration across the world. Please help us to secure its future.