There is definitely a mood in the air here in Barnet.
I can’t put my finger on it but it is there.
In the last few weeks our reps have been going into workplaces and recruiting both members and reps in services where staff have been working throughout COVID, services such as care homes, waste and recycling, street cleansing, housing repairs and gas services, parking enforcement and passenger transport to name but a few.
One of the major issues is that they are all low paid workers and they quite rightly feel they are not being paid enough, especially when you consider they have worked on throughout all the restraints caused by the virus.
For the past six months these workers have been directed into the COVID workplace by senior managers all working from the comfort of their homes.
Being able to work from is not an option for these workers.
While senior management are saving money on transport costs because they can work from home these workers are paying the rising costs of public transport to get to their workplaces.
Today was no exception. We met a group of workers in the Repairs and Gas Service who had recently TUPED into the Barnet Group from Mears. There were many serious issues raised, all of which can and must be dealt with by our union.
What was great about the meeting was that this previously un-unionised workforce quickly grasped the importance of union membership in the workplace. Not only have they already begun to recruit the whole of the service, they have understood the need to have local reps and we recruited two union reps and one Health and Safety rep.
I never get tired of working with members and today reminded me of what we can do if we have the confidence and support of the workforce.
Today is but the beginning I sense things are going to get interesting here in Barnet over the next six to nine months.
Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.