To all local government branches in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
(Scotland for information)
UNISON’s NJC Committee, the union’s national committee for local government pay across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, met this morning to consider the Employers’ 1.5% pay offer. The Committee strongly agreed to reject the offer. In the context of our claim for a 10% pay increase, the offer of 1.5% is insulting, and shows blatant disregard for the hard work and sacrifices made by local government workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, providing essential services and keeping our communities safe and well.
UNISON is calling on the local government employers to enter urgent negotiations so that this offer can be improved. UNISON members are also deeply frustrated at the long delay in resolving term time working issues for school support staff and others, and we are seeking reassurances that this work will be prioritised.
At the same time, UNISON is clear that more funding is needed from central government to ensure that local authorities and schools can continue to provide the full range of services and pay staff properly. UNISON is calling on the National Employers and local authorities to work with us to lobby for more resources for local government.
Contact: NJC pay enquiries inbox NJCPay2021@unison.co.uk
Barnet UNISON Update on National Pay Award: 1.5% is an insulting offer to Council workers especially those who ensured public services continued through the #Covid pandemic. It shows workers that this government doesn’t value them. Bring on the strike ballot✊
Read UNISON comments below
#LowPay #PovertyPay #Equalities #Pay #Keyworkers #UNISON
Earlier this week our branch was notified by private contractor ISS that they were giving notice to end the Kosher kitchen contract.
This was not a surprise because a number of other schools had already left this contract with ISS earlier this year.
This news is deeply troubling as it feels that the contract is unravelling and those who will be hurt will be the workforce.
When this service was a Council one it was highly successful in generating income to the Council and competing with the private sector.
The workforce was on Barnet Council Terms and Conditions and all had access to the Council Pension Scheme. Moreover, no worker would have been earning less than the London Living Wage.
At the time senior officers responded that nothing would change for staff after they were outsourced but that simply wasn’t true (see the background notes at end of this report).
What actually happened was that some schools started to pull out of the contract with ISS, and sometimes that meant being transferred to yet another contractor some of whom do not pay the London Living Wage and whose Terms and Conditions are appalling in comparison to those of the Council.
Once again it is a mainly female workforce that is being exploited and exposed to the brutality of the race to the bottom agenda of the outsourcing ideology that has blighted so many lives.
I wonder how many schools realise what impact their decisions about Catering are having on this workforce and the families that depend on them.
Schools are education settings promoting opportunities for children to learn and develop, yet at the same time they have responsibilities for the workforce they employ either directly or indirectly through use of contractors. Catering and Cleaning workers are two examples of an exploited workforce, a workforce that is regularly passed from one employer to another. The dehumanising experience of outsourcing and low pay is something which needs to end and it’s something about which Barnet UNISON will not stay silent or allow itself to be gagged.
Background to Catering outsourcing:
The Catering service was outsourced by Barnet Council in 2016.
Barnet UNISON opposed the outsourcing and demanded that:
“The Council should retain the Catering Service in-house and place it within Family Services Delivery Unit in order that all the profits can support frontline services, which are threatened by budget cuts. It should draw up a Public Service Innovation and Improvement Plan for the future of the Catering Service jointly with schools and staff.”
In our report to Councillors we stated:
“The Council is proposing to outsource Education & Skills and Catering services. Yet the Catering Service is a good example of a successful in-house service that has made efficiency improvements and competed with the private sector outside Barnet to win contracts. The Education & Skills and Catering Full Business Case reports an increase in the Catering service annual traded surplus of £241,770, a 3.33% profit, an increase from the 2.67% annual surplus in the Outline Business Case. Furthermore, there is a strong case for all the Education & Skills services to be retained in-house.”
Our report was ignored.
Barnet UNISON was seriously concerned about the impact of outsourcing on this workforce. This is a workforce where:
- 93% of the total Education & Skills and Catering workforce is female with the Catering Service accounting for an even higher proportion at 96%.
- 49% of the Catering workforce are Asian and Asian British, Black or Black British or Chinese or other ethnic group compared to 34% white employees based on the available data.
Global giant ISS restricts rights of former Barnet Council catering workers
“TUPE or not TUPE” that is the stressful question for our outsourced ISS Catering workers
ISS Pay roll changes put low paid workers at risk.
History of the outsourcing of Schools Meals and Education & Skills services
BREAKINGNEWS: Mott MacDonald and Barnet Council in contract termination talks
Support #WeAreBarnet frontline workers by registering to join our second public rally on Weds 19 May 2021 6.30 to 7.30 pm
Wednesday 21 April 6.30 to 7.30 Barnet UNISON Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 851 0050 8740
Our demand to be treated like every other Barnet Council worker
View our flyer by clicking on our UNISON link
Dear Barnet UNISON member
I am pleased to invite you to the Barnet UNISON Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday 4 March 4-6pm
The last 12 months have been the most traumatic for many of our members both in the workplace and in their homes.
Our branch has tried its best to support as many of our members as possible and will continue to do so.
I am proud to introduce our first speaker Hilda Palmer who last year was recognised as “Most Influential person in health & safety for 2020” https://www.shponline.co.uk/shp-most-influential/hilda-palmer-named-shps-most-influential-person-in-health-safety-for-2020/
Hilda work on health & safety is inspirational and she has helped out branch immensely during the COVID pandemic.
I am sure you will want to hear what Hilda has to say about safety in the Covid workplace.
Our second speaker is the legendary Ken Loach. Our branch has been working with Ken for nearly two decades we have screened several of his films and Ken has been a big supporter of our members facing mass outsourcing.
Ken is joining us to talk about the brutal inequality in the workplace that has caused untold damage to the life chances of so many.
He will introduce a clip from his most recent film “Sorry We Missed You” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysjwg-MnZao and discuss what lessons we can learn and what actions we as a branch must take to tackle inequalities in the workplace.
Our last two speakers are our very own Barnet UNISON reps Debbie & Anju both of whom work for The Barnet Group and organisation owned by Barnet Council. I’m really excited about what they have to say.
Our AGM is a really important meeting it decides what we as a branch are going to do for the next 12 months which is why we want all of our members to join us.
Due to COVID our AGM has to be online.
We need you to register to attend the meeting.
All you need to do is click on the Barnet UNISON link below to confirm you are coming to the meeting.
On the day before the AGM you will receive an email with the link to join the meeting.
I look forward to seeing you at our AGM.