Poverty Pay For Barnet Care Workers set to continue…………

Monday 6th January 2020 should have brought good news for ex Fremantle care workers now employed by The Barnet Group (TBG).

Barnet UNISON had expected to hear that care workers would be moved onto the London Living Wage at Policy and Resources Committee on Monday 6th January 2020

https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=692&MId=10084

Instead the decision was kicked into the long grass.

This decision has ensured care workers remain on poverty pay.

TUPE information from Fremantle in May/ June 2019 revealed that just under 300 staff were TUPE transferred.

Of these, according to the figures given for the job titles and the rates of pay quoted for those job titles, some two thirds were listed as being paid below the London Living Wage.

Care work is a physically demanding role as well as an emotionally demanding role.

There are at least 201 Care workers on poverty pay

Yet according to the TUPE transfer information

161 members of staff are aged 55 years and over.

40 are aged 66 years and over.

Notes for Editors:

TBG is 100% owned by Barnet Council.

Barnet Council does not employ any staff paid less than the London Living Wage.

Barnet UNISON report Policy and Resources Committee 6th January 2020.

Barnet UNISON report

Policy and Resources Committee

 6th January 2020.

 

SUMMARY

With respect to the decision made at the last P&R Committee, Council officers have, at best, not complied with the request and at worst have misled the Committee.

RECOMMENDATION

The Officers are required to investigate the actual costs associated with implementing the London Living Wage for the ex-Fremantle workers.

BACKGROUND

Over the past decade one thing Barnet UNISON is in agreement with Barnet Council is that the London Living Wage is the lowest rate of pay for its staff and those working on outsourced contracts.

Within the Barnet Group the minimum rate of pay for staff in Barnet Homes, TBG Flex (The Barnet Group Flex) and Your Choice Barnet is the London Living Wage – including posts which become vacant within the ex-Fremantle homes.

After a settling in period for the TUPE Fremantle staff Barnet UNISON raised in discussions with the employer the issue of paying these staff the London Living Wage as the lowest level of pay. We believe these staff should be treated no differently to other staff working for Barnet Council or on its outsourced contracts.

Barnet UNISON notes the decision regarding a discussion about implementing the London Living Wage for Fremantle TUPE transferred staff to Your Choice Barnet at the Policy and Resources Committee 3rd October 2019 is recorded in the draft minutes as:

“Following discussion on the London Living Wage for Fremantle staff who had been TUPE transferred to Your Choice Barnet the Chairman agreed to an item on the feasibility being brought back to the next Committee. This would be included in the Business Planning report”

In response to this request from Councillors the Business Planning Report dedicates a mere 2 paragraphs which is listed under “Risks to the MTFS”

  • Fremantle Care workers (London Living Wage): Former Fremantle staff were TUPE transferred to YCB in July 2018 under the agreement that terms and conditions would be protected for 1 year.  Some former Fremantle care workers that have been transferred to the Barnet Group may be being paid less than the London Living Wage (£10.75 per hour (as at Nov 2019)). The Barnet Group policy is to pay all its workers at least the London Living Wage, subject to affordability, and a HR process is now required to review any changes to terms and conditions which will need to be considered.

 

Any decision about changes to terms and conditions will need to be considered in the context of the overall pay and reward strategy for the Barnet Group, employment policies and legislation, the wider social care market and the council’s procurement rules.   It is not yet possible to quantify the level of risk associated as it is too early to form a conclusion about the application of the LLW to TUPE staff. However, officers in the Barnet Group supported by council colleagues where necessary will be working on this over the coming months and can provide further update to the committee in the future.

These two paragraphs responding to the Committee’s request in no way reflects the response Barnet UNISON or the care workers were expecting. We had expected a detailed report detailing the cost implications for implementing the London Living Wage. Instead this response kicks the question into the long grass.

This is absurd as all new vacancies in the ex-Fremantle homes are advertised as paying the London Living Wage as a minimum. These posts are open to existing Fremantle staff to apply for those posts. This means that incrementally at least some of these staff working in these homes will be all be employed on the London Living Wage. This fact is not even listed in the 2 paragraphs written by the officers. This means this risk is already a reality and yet it is not mentioned or evaluated. No turnover rates are mentioned. Is it ironic that a credible option for the ex-Fremantle staff to en masse resign from their posts and then to reapply for posts in the new homes which would have to be offered at the London Living Wage?

The report in no way reflects the request made of the Committee to the officers. A “feasibility” was requested not the “risks”. Furthermore the Councillors are asked to believe that the officers are incapable of quantifying the “level of risk” associated with “the application of the LLW to TUPE staff.”

Barnet UNISON can be of assistance to the officers and councillors in understanding some of the implications by revealing the inaccuracy of the sentence: “Some former Fremantle care workers […] may be being paid less than the London Living Wage”. (Our italics)

TUPE information from Fremantle in May/ June 2019 revealed that just under 300 staff were TUPE transferred. Of these, according to the figures given for the job titles and the rates of pay quoted for those job titles, some two thirds were listed as being paid below the London Living Wage. In total these were 222 staff. The largest group are the care workers which total some 143 workers and are nearly half of the ex-Fremantle workforce.

Care work is a physically demanding role as well as an emotionally demanding role. Yet according to the TUPE transfer information 161 members of staff are aged 55 years and over and of these 40 are aged 66 years and over. By contrast the numbers of staff aged under 40 years are 76.

 

RISK

There is a risk in not paying the London Living Wage as this report demonstrates:

https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/adult-social-care-workforce-data/Workforce-intelligence/documents/State-of-the-adult-social-care-sector/State-of-Report-2019.pdf

In the Care industry there is a national turnover rate of 38% for those working less than one year in the field (p.13). It shows that those who are paid more are less likely to leave their roles.

“Turnover at regulated services that were rated overall as either ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’, turnover was found to be lower (29.5%) than those rated as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ (32.2%). This trend remained consistent across each Key Line of Enquiry (KLOE) with an average difference of 2.7%. The largest difference in turnover was shown for the ‘Safe’ KLOE which had 3.4% lower turnover at providers rated positively.” (p.118)

Continuity is an important factor in delivering quality care and support to our most vulnerable residents. There are associated costs in constantly recruiting and inducting new members of staff. These can result in reputational and safeguarding costs.

Barnet UNISON strives to work with both the Council and quasi outsourced employers, such as the Barnet Group, in continuing to promote harmonious industrial relations and to provide a high level of service for our customers. This may, potentially, be put in jeopardy if the decision is not to value monetarily the important role that care workers perform.

These factors should be of importance to this Committee and to Councillors in general and should be taken more seriously than the response to the request from Council officer’s shows.

 

Historic underpayments across schools and private contractors in Barnet

Barnet UNISON has written to 67 Barnet Schools, Capita, ISS, Cambridge Education and The Barnet Group in regards potential underpayments to staff who are on Term Time Pay (TTP) contracts.

Whilst the majority of staff on TTP contracts are based in schools there are workers who were outsourced to other contractors also on the same contracts.

What is this about?

It is about the calculation used to ensure that part-time workers are not being discriminated in relation to their pay.

UNISON believes that this contract term is unfair and inherently discriminatory. We believe that this contract term results term time only workers receiving less than their pro-rata leave entitlement compared to their full time equivalent (FTE) colleagues.

UNISON believes that this contract treats part time workers less favourably than full time staff and is therefore discriminatory. We also believe that the approach is potentially discriminatory on sex grounds as the workers affected are overwhelmingly female.

UNISON is seeking a recalculation of the pay and leave of these staff and a payment of back pay of any historical underpayment from their date of appointment.

We would also seek a recalculation of any pension entitlement under the LGPS resulting from any underpayment or understatement of pensionable service.

This is a massive issue for our members and we are continuing to keep all of our members briefed as to their rights at work.

If you are on a Term Time Pay contract and worried if you are being correctly paid please contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

 

Good News: Housing options staying in Barnet House.

Last week staff working for Barnet Homes were informed that the Housing Options service would not be moving to Colindale.

This is a sensible decision. This service is probably the most high profile and potentially volatile work environment. Due to the brutal crushing impact of austerity those who need this service have often been refused access to services. They are desperate and very vulnerable. Last year we had a fatality. It was a tragedy and it had a profound impact on many of the staff who were working there that day. This is a service that need space for residents and their families to be able to speak to staff in a safe environment.

The space allocated at Colindale was never going to be suitable.

For the time being the service is remaining at Barnet House in which case it does need some money spent on it to make it a better environment for all that use and or work there.

End.

Barnet Care workers update: London Living Wage decision delayed due to General Election

Update: Due to the General Election being on 12th December the Committee which was to discuss a report about Barnet Group care workers receiving the London Living Wage is now postponed from 10th December to 6th January.

 

Good news is that London Living Wage is set to rise to £10.75/ hr next year!

 

Please tell everyone at work and your family and friends about the change in date.

 

Barnet UNISON is calling for a Happy New Year for all our Barnet Care Workers!

Everyone to Hendon Town Hall

Monday 6th January 2020, for 7 pm start.

 

You can view the latest Barnet Care workers flyer by clicking on link below

2019.11.12 Care workers updated date to 6th Jan

Barnet Council: The London and the Barnet Living Wage story continues……..

Barnet UNISON has launched a campaign for the London Living Wage for care workers who were recently transferred from Fremantle Trust to The Barnet Group (TBG). TBG is 100% owned by Barnet Council.

What does Barnet Council have to say on the matter?

Barnet Living Wage

3.15. The Council has developed a fair pay policy to ensure that it applies a minimum wage for Council employees. “London Borough of Barnet is a fair pay employer and will apply the principles of a living wage (including taking into account the National Minimum Wage, National Living Wage, London Living Wage and national pay awards in the public sector), subject to affordability.”

3.16. Employees whose pay rate is less than the agreed amount will receive a pay supplement to bring their pay up to an equivalent of the published Barnet Living Wage rate. The minimum rate will be reviewed on an annual basis. The exception to this rule will be apprenticeships where the national apprenticeship rates will apply at a minimum.

(Source: https://bit.ly/2BEKVx4 )

Negotiations

Several years ago Barnet UNISON reached an agreement with Barnet Council that no Council employee would earn less than the London Living Wage (LLW). However the agreement refers to the Barnet Living Wage (BLW) as Barnet Council wanted to make a point of paying slightly more than the London Living Wage.

In 2018 the London Living Wage was £10.20 and the Barnet Living Wage was £10.42.

In 2019 the London Living Wage was £10.55 and the Barnet Living Wage is £10.70 (Bottom of Grade A).

Not enough

Whilst this was a good agreement for our members working for Barnet Council workers it did not provide security for those workers facing outsourcing under the One Barnet Programme. This led to further negotiations and subsequent agreement with Barnet Council that any contractor taking over any Council services could not pay their staff less that the London Living Wage. The effect of this agreement was apparent when our catering staff members were transferred to ISS. Earlier this year our members contacted Barnet UNISON when their pay did not go up to the new rate. Our branch immediately contacted both ISS and the Council which led to an immediate climb down and our members were put on the correct pay.

What about other outsourced contracts?

Our branch had been trying to get our cleaners on to the LLW for years. These had been outsourced 15 years ago. Earlier this year we were pleased to inform our cleaners in UNISON that the Council had inserted the LLW into the new contract which was awarded early in the year. At last our cleaners are on the LLW.

Barnet care workers.

During the summer almost 300 care staff transferred from Fremantle Trust to The Barnet Group (TBG). TBG is 100% owned by Barnet Council.

Three weeks ago Barnet UNISON launched its latest campaign for the London Living Wage for the care workers.

On Tuesday 10 December at Barnet Council Policy and Resources Committee will make a decision whether to ensure Barnet care workers will get equal treatment and are paid the London Living Wage.

We are asking for a big solidarity call out for our care workers from Barnet UNISON members, trade union members, and supporters.

Join us outside Hendon Town Hall from 6.30 Tuesday 10 December 2019.

 

End.

Barnet Council is to debate “Support London’s Living Wage for Care Workers”

Council meeting: 29 October 2019

Motion: Cllr Barry Rawlings

Support London’s Living Wage for Care Workers

Council believes that care workers provide the most crucial services to our elderly and disabled residents, and they deserve to be paid a living wage. Council notes that the former Fremantle care workers that have been transferred to the Barnet Group are being paid less than the London Living Wage which is currently £10.55 per hour. The London Living Wage has been identified as the minimum rate of pay that workers in the Capital need to cover the cost of living essentials. The Barnet Group policy is to pay all its workers at least the London Living Wage. Council welcomes the commitment for a feasibility report into the issue to be brought back to the next meeting of Policy & Resources Committee. Council calls on Policy & Resources Committee to ensure all Barnet Group employees are paid at least London’s Living Wage.

Under Full Council Procedure Rule 17.17: if my item is not dealt with by the end of the meeting, I ask that it be voted upon at the Council me

(Source: https://bit.ly/2Bw5w6z )

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