Joint Trade Union Emergency Cost of Living Crisis Pay claim.

Introduction:

National Pay Bargaining has failed to deliver meaningful improvements in pay for many of our members. Our members have endured a decade of pay freezes and below average pay awards which has seen our members lose on average 27.5% from the value of their pay since 2010.

Whilst we wait for the national pay negotiations to reach an outcome our members are facing the fastest fall in living standards since the 1950s. Inflation is forecast to peak at over 10% this year, the sharp rise in the cost of living is hitting our members hard. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has warned economic conditions are now unlikely to return to pre-Covid levels until at least 2024.

The UK’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, predicts food price inflation will soon hit 5%. The cost of many supermarket staples has increased far more than this already – the average price of pasta increased 41% last year and tinned tomatoes went up 29%.

Within these figures, some costs are rising at an unprecedented rate, such as gas bills at 28.8%, petrol and oil at 21.4%, and electricity bills at 19.2%.

What is of concern for our members is that the support measures offered by the government are not enough.

The Joint Trade Unions welcome the “Cost-of-Living approach: Debt and Financial Vulnerabilities workstream” report going to Policy & Resources Committee on 8 June 2022. (https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s72786/Cost%20of%20Living%20approach%20Debt%20and%20Financial%20Vulnerabilities%20workstream.pdf )

In particular we agree with Recommendation 3 which states notes the urgency of the cost-of-living challenges facing residents”. Some of our lowest paid members live and work in the London Borough of Barnet.

As Trade Unions we recognise that we need to act in the interests of our membership in these unprecedented times which is why we have tabled three proposals to address some of the concerns raised on a daily basis by our members.

 

  1. Travel to Work payment

The cost of fuel is driving up prices both for car users and for those using public transport.

 

In terms of public transport costs between 2009 – 21 Bus & coach fares have gone up 88% and Rail fares have gone up 55%.

 

Petrol and diesel costs are at a historic high. Filling up a tank costs £17 more than just one year ago, but HMRC mileage rates have not been updated since 2011/12.

 

There are staff, keyworkers, who have no choice but to travel to work. They are not able to work from home. Throughout the COVID pandemic they have had to keep travelling to work and incurring their travel costs at a time when many other workers have saved money because they were able to work from home.

 

Joint Trade Unions  is asking for a Travel to Work payment to be paid each month.

 

  1. Home Working payment

The COVID Pandemic forced home working on many employers. We now have a hybrid pattern of working where staff are still working from home with occasional days at the office.

 

Energy prices rose even more sharply from April 2022, when the price cap received an enormous lift and the average bill increased from £1,277 to approximately £2,000 a year.

 

In terms of some escalating costs which we believe impact on the Home worker, between 2009 – 21 House prices have risen by 53% and Electricity bills by 65%.

The Emergency Cost of Living Crisis has changed things dramatically. The energy bill hikes are putting many of our members under financial insecurity especially in light of further energy bill increases in the Autumn.

 

It is only fair that the employer should contribute to energy costs for those staff working from home.

 

Joint Trade Unions is asking for a Home Working payment to be paid each month.

 

  1. COVID Recognition Payment

Last year the trade unions requested a COVID Recognition payment as a sign of goodwill and recognition that many of the frontline workers had continued to deliver services right through the Pandemic and when the vaccine was not available. Our request was turned down. As previously stated in our Cost-of-Living Crisis proposal many of our lowest paid are under serious financial pressure and they want a payment in recognition of what they did during the height of the COVID pandemic.

 

Joint Trade Unions is asking that Barnet Council makes a one-off COVID-19 recognition payment.

 

Joint Trade Unions = Barnet UNISON, GMB, NEU. 

End.

Payroll issues, Accident reporting, PPE for our depot members

Payroll issues

The Cost Of Living Crisis is getting worse. We want to make sure all our members are getting paid correctly.

 

Accidents at Work.

Unfortunately, accidents happen at work. It is REALLY important that our members report the accidents. Your supervisor must take details from you and record the incident on the Councils Accident/Injury system.

If you are injured whilst carrying out your job this is called industrial injury. This means that if you are off sick you don’t need to worry about your pay running out.

If you are having a problem reporting your accident, please contact your UNISON rep immediately.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Your employer must provide this to you by law. If you need new PPE speak to your supervisor. If you are experiencing problems obtaining PPE please contact your UNISON rep.

PPE is there to protect you.

To view our flyer click on the link below.

2021.09.22 depot flyer

End.

The Tories Are Out Of Barnet!

To quote CeCe Peniston: “Finally!” (For those of us young enough to remember popular music of the 90s) https://youtu.be/xk8mm1Qmt-Y

On behalf of our members our Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary, John Burgess, has written to the newly elected Council Leader, Barry Rawlings, congratulating him on the success of the Labour Party and requesting to meet with him.

This is John making a statement to all Barnet UNISON members

For 20 years our members have had to deal with brutality of outsourcing and attacks on our time off to represent members. Our members in the Barnet Group, Capita, NSL, BELS and ISS will be expecting to see positive change for them. UNISON’s General Secretary, Christine McAnea has also been written to requesting her support for assistance in our discussions with Barnet Labour.

We’ll be providing regular updates to our members and our wider UNISON family and trade union community on our progress.

End.

National Pay Award 2021/22: Are you owed back pay?

Barnet Council paid all their existing staff their backdated pay (1.75% National Pay Award for 2021/22 in March 2022.

What happens to Barnet Council staff who have left employment?

If you worked for Barnet Council and left during the period between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 you may be owed back pay.

What should I do?

Barnet UNISON members should send an email to this address: HRAdmin@barnet.gov.uk requesting their backdated pay. Please copy in Barnet UNISON at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk and let us know if there are any issues

Have you retired and taking your Pension?

For those who have recently retired it is important that you mention in your email that you are in receipt of your Pension as this payment needs to be added to your Pension pot.

What about school staff?

If you worked in a school and have recently retired or left employment period between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 you may be owed back pay.

You need to urgently contact your school request your backdated pay.

Please copy in Barnet UNISON at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk and let us know if there are any issues

What about TUPED staff?

If you have been TUPED to another employer e.g. Capita, BELS, NSL, ISS and have recently retired or left employment period between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 you may be owed back pay.

You need to urgently contact your employer and request your backdated pay.

Please copy in Barnet UNISON at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk and let us know if there are any issues

End.

 

Cost of Living Crisis: London Weighting is not what it used to be!

Barnet Council grades include an element of London Weighting just like all the other London Councils.

However, times are very different. The Cost-of-Living Crisis has fundamentally changed things and now is the time for Barnet UNISON to step up.

Living and working in London is expensive. If you don’t believe me read this.

Higher living costs in London

“It has been shown that it costs at least 20% more to achieve a decent standard of living in London, compared to the rest of the UK, and in some cases it can be as high as 50%. This is mainly due to the high costs of housing, transport and childcare.*

The Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University has recently looked deeply into whether the London weighting system goes far enough. In research funded by the charity Trust for London, they showed that the London Weighting needs to be about £7,700 per year in Inner London and over £6,200 in Outer London to cover the additional minimum cost of living in the capital.”

(Source: https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/publications/london-weighting-and-london-costs-fresh-approach/ )

To find out more join the Barnet Cost of Living Crisis UNISON meeting is on Tuesday 26 April 2022 at 6 pm.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85746035877?pwd=NFoxQWpVelZVVEVac0J4VTZpc2tuUT09

Meeting ID: 857 4603 5877

Passcode: 801 103

End.

 

Cost of Living Crisis meeting 26 April 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emergency Cost of Living facts

Don’t let anyone tell you there is no money

  • UK Big Six energy firms made more than £1bn in profit
  • £40bn profits for BP and Shell
  • Petrol and diesel prices are the highest ever and it’s likely to get higher
  • The worst financial squeeze in 60 years, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Food prices rising
  • Food banks usage increasing
  • Rent rises, council tax increases, mortgages rising, water bills increasing.

All of this and yet

  • MPs are getting a £2,200 pay rise when most of our members are only getting 1.75%
  • The Government gave £37 billion for the Covid Test and Trace.
  • The Government were handing out million-pound contracts to their mates during the pandemic
  • Finally, the Government worked from home whilst many of our frontline members had to go into work without a vaccine in order to keep public services running.
  • And let’s not forget the wine and cheese parties they were having when all of our members were risking their lives keeping public services running on poverty wages.

National Pay Bargaining

Negotiations have started for the National Pay campaign. More news on the campaign will be shared with members.

BUT Barnet UNISON believes we can’t wait, we need to act now.

But we need a Barnet UNISON Cost of Living Crisis Pay claim now.

Barnet UNISON will shortly be starting negotiations with the employer on some changes to Unified Reward Terms and Conditions. It is important that members attend our UNISON meetings on the negotiations.

The next Barnet UNISON Cost of Living Crisis meeting is taking place on Tuesday 26 April 6- 7 pm.

Please see details below for joining the meeting.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85746035877?pwd=NFoxQWpVelZVVEVac0J4VTZpc2tuUT09

Meeting ID: 857 4603 5877

Passcode: 801 103

Election Time: “Who has the back of Barnet UNISON members?”

As we approach Council elections, our members are asking if there will be a political change here at Barnet Council and if so, what it would mean for them.

It is now 20 years since Labour handed back power to the Tories in Barnet Council. Back then it was a very different time, and the Tories were not keen on outsourcing. They appeared to enjoy running the services themselves.

Things changed around 2008.

This is when easyCouncil was presented as the future for delivering Council services. This approach was promoted by a succession of consultants who were richly rewarded with lucrative contracts. It would be fair to say Barnet Council was “consultant dependent”, no decisions could be made without first paying a consultant 100’s of thousands of pounds of public money.

“The One Barnet Consultant’s bill hits £6.3 million” http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-one-barnet-consultants-bill-hits-63.html

Easycouncil became One Barnet, which enabled the mass outsourcing sausage machine to churn out report after report, all extolling the virtues of outsourcing and undermining the hard work of the in-house staff.

Fast forward 14 years and there appears to be growing anger towards the Government over the alleged breaches of Covid rules at its heart. There is even speculation that previously safe Tory Councils could be at risk.

If there was political change in Barnet would it be a Labour or Lib- Labour Coalition?

And if so what would that mean for our outsourced members all of whom are desperate to return back under direct management of Barnet Council?

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for NSL the Parking Services contractor?

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for Capita and the two contracts?

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for the Catering Contractor ISS? 

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for Barnet Education Learning Skills (BELS)?

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for Housing workers working for Barnet Homes? 

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for 600 care workers working for Your Choice Barnet?

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for the cleaning contractor Norse? 

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for the security contractor Blue Nine? 

All the above services used to be provided by Barnet Council and many of the outsourced services are frontline services run by key workers clapped as heroes during the pandemic.

UNISON policy is for all these services to be run in-house and that they will publicly support Barnet UNISON to try to campaign to bring these services back under direct control of the Council.

The other big concern for Council workers and the low paid is PAY. 

The National Pay Campaign was a failure and whilst UNISON begins the work to address the massive deficit between the union and its membership nationally what does this mean now?

Our low paid members are facing serious financial hardship and do not have the luxury of waiting for another national pay campaign.

What is low pay in our depot based Street Scene Services ? 

A Street Cleansing operative earns between £11.31 to £12.03 and hour annual salary £22,575  

A Bin worker loader or a Gardener earns between £11.82 to £12.47 and hour annual salary £ 23,400 

A Passenger Transport Driver, Gardener Driver, Town Keeper earns between £12.24 to £12.91 and hour annual salary £24,245

A coach escort, skilled gardener driver, tractor driver earns between £12.69 to £13.39 and hour annual salary £25,128

A LGV driver operative, LGV Tractor drive earns between £13.15 to £14.12 and hour annual salary £26,508

A Bin worker driver earns between £14.12 to £15.72 and hour annual salary £29,502 

 

Barnet UNISON had its first Emergency Cost of Living Crisis meeting on 30 March 2022. The meeting agreed to progress the claim and bring the full proposal to a vote of the second Cost of Living Crisis meeting on Tuesday 26 April at 6 pm.  

What will a change in political leadership mean for our low paid Barnet UNISON members working for Barnet Council? 

The question on the lips of these workers is which political party will publicly join UNISON in advocating the return of outsourced services back into Barnet Council and to meet to discuss how to end pay poverty for low paid workers?

End.

 

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