Homeless: Barnet UNISON quest to find an office
Since the formation of Barnet Council in 1965 there has always been an office for our members to visit and meet with their reps first when it was NALGO and now Barnet UNISON.
Barnet UNISON has moved a few times over the last decades. We were based in an old mortuary in Hendon until the Council moved services “lock, stock and barrel” to North London Business Park (NLBP).
We remained in NLBP until the Council began its new accommodation strategy.
We were moved to Barnet House and we are still here.
It is really important for our members that they have access to their trade union.
Currently we have large numbers of members at Oakleigh Road depot, NLBP, Colindale.
Over the last 12 months we have been in discussions with the Council to find suitable accommodation that is accessible and provides confidentiality.
Why are we not at Colindale?
The set up in Colindale is open plan and the Council were unable to secure an enclosed office where we could meet, greet and discuss issues with our members. It is important that members are able to access Barnet UNISON without others knowing.
Subsequently we have been looking at some other properties. Originally we were going to return to Building 2 NLBP for a limited amount of time but that has not materialised.
Time is running out.
At the moment we are still in Barnet House because the building is still open for Housing Needs service which has not moved to Colindale. At some point Barnet House will be closed and we will be out on the streets hence the need to find something suitable.
We are still hoping to find a solution with the Council but we need to be prepared for potentially being homeless.
How you can help?
We are calling on all members to keep a look out for anywhere they think might be suitable for a Barnet UNISON office.
It’s important that members understand that the branch does not have funding for an office and therefore any costs would have to be taken out of our existing budget. This is a real concern because we have a large and diverse membership and we struggle to live within our budget each year. We will of course be contacting our union to ask if they are able to provide extra funding for accommodation and we will report back to our members the outcome of that request.