Barnet UNISON welcomes the publication of the Barnet Council’s commissioned Library review.

British Library, Kings Cross.
March to protest about cuts to libraries, museums and the arts.
Barnet Unison were on the march along with striking Barnet library staff.
05/11/16 BP AMS

Barnet UNISON welcomes the publication of the Council’s commissioned Library review.

It is a thorough and detailed body of work and while we are not in total agreement with its findings or recommendations, we commend those who worked on it for its evidence based and independent approach. This included a willingness to engage with UNISON and Library workers.

This is an initial response from Barnet UNISON, focusing on the salient concerns to us a trade union.  Further and more detailed responses will follow as we consult with our members working in Barnet Libraries.

Much of the Review concurs with our warnings to the Council before and since the implementation of the current structure and operation of Barnet Libraries. We have been raising these concerns, which focus on the accessibility and the quality and breath of service since 2014.  However   the Council proceeded on their course and the resulting public dissatisfaction and restriction of access (particularly for children and people with disabilities) are plain to see in the Review’s findings.

Barnet UNISON is glad to see the professionalism and hard work of Library staff, at all levels recognised in the Review but   the continuing achievements of these workers is despite the Library Restructure of 2017 not because of those changes. Barnet Library workers have had to overcome significant challenges, including a reduction in numbers of almost 50%, the loss of public and work space, a disruptive working schedule and having to deal with the often justified but misdirected frustration and anger of the public.

Barnet UNISON fought a long campaign to defend the jobs of Library workers from 2014 to 2017.  This involved considerable effort and self-sacrifice by UNISON members working in Barnet Libraries. This campaign was not only about defending our members but a bid to maintain the quality and availability of libraries for the people who live, work, study and visit in Barnet. But regrettably many library workers lost their jobs in April 2017. In many cases this was a sad and premature end to decades-long careers.  These Library workers were sacrificed to the Council’s belief that their skills, knowledge and experience could be replaced by machines and volunteers

Nearly three years after this loss the   Review has found:

“The reduction in staffed opening hours has gone too far, particularly given the low number of volunteers. The reductions act as a deterrent to many library users from using the library and act as a particular barrier to young people who cannot access the library on their own during SSO hours if they do not meet the minimum age requirements.”

And

 

“The loss of staff and the fact that they move between libraries more makes it harder for users to develop positive relationships that support library use for all ages. This is not a criticism of staff. It is a loss for the community”

To help redress this the Review advises that the Council;

“To increase staffed opening hours by increasing staffing resources in the short to medium term at least until adequate numbers of volunteers can be recruited and the use of volunteers stabilised

UNISON support the increase in staffing resources but on a permanent basis. Even if “adequate numbers of Volunteers” are found they are not suitable replacements for Library staff

The Review also calls on the Council;

“To review the extent of budget reductions and explore the scope for additional investment in the service given the relative decline in the take-up of the service”

While the Council have published no plans for further cuts to the Library Service, the implementation of the Review’s recommendations would require additional funds being allocated to the Service. Attempting to implement the changes described without additional resources will result in further burdens and stress on an already overstretched work force.

 

Barnet UNISON ask the Council;

  • When and how will staffing resources be increased?
  • What additional funds will be allocated to the Library Service?
  • How will the Libraries be made more accessible to the public?
  • What measures will be put in place to more accurately record library usage?

 

Barnet UNISON hope the Review will spur the Council to at least begin to repairing the damage done to Barnet Libraries in 2017. Damage which our Union and others warned the Council would result from their Library strategy.  We call on the Council to truly engage with us and those who know the service best, Library workers, in making our Libraries truly fit for the 21rst Century.

 

Local Barnet Rabbi to speak at Barnet UNISON AGM

“We are in the process of enormous catastrophic breakdown and if takes an arrest to try to find ways of helping to galvanise public opinion then it certainly worth being arrested.” (Rabbi Jeffrey Newman 14th October 2019.)

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman is guest speaker at Barnet UNISON AGM on Tuesday 25 February 2020 at 4pm Barnet House. All member welcome.

https://youtu.be/Ski8LcjvwVo

Love UNIONS; Join Barnet UNISON “there’s a lot going on!”

As part of 8‑14 Feb 2017 Heartunions week of action

Barnet UNISON is publishing our calendar of action we have organised for our members and the community we serve.

A big thanks to all of our UNISON reps, officers and our admin for all the work they have done and continue to do for our members.

20 February “1 Day Without Us”

“We want to demonstrate our solidarity for our migrant colleagues”

“By wearing a purple or green ribbon. You can also just wear something green or purple.”

“By taking solidarity selfies of you and your workmates on 20th February”

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017.02.02-One-day-without-us-flyer.pdf #20Feb #1DayWithoutUs #BarnetUNISON

 

25 February “Sing Your Heart out 4 NHS”

“Join Barnet UNISON members and our fantastic Barnet residents in a musical message of solidarity for the NHS.”

We can now see what six years of austerity policies has had on the NHS which only recently was described by the Red Cross as a “humanitarian crisis”.

“Listen to Yannis Gourtsoyannis one of the Junior Doctors strikers talk first-hand about the NHS crisis”

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2017.01.09-Rock-Against-Austerity-flyer-1.pdf #NHS #BarnetUNISON

 

28 February “I Daniel Blake” – Phoenix Cinema – East Finchley

“We are absolutely delighted that our long-time supporter Ken Loach has agreed to join a Q & A with DPAC’s Paula Peters, who will be interviewed by Aditya Chakraborrty senior economics commentator for the Guardian.”

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/barnet_idanielblake_28Feb2017_A4_poster.pdf

#IDanielBlake #BarnetUNISON

 

4 March – National “Save Our NHS” demo – Barnet UNISON

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2017/01/25/barnet-unison-supports-nhs-workers-join-us-4marchnhs/ #NHS #BarnetUNISON

 

7 March Barnet UNISON AGM – Fighting Apartheid to Fighting Austerity  

“I am deeply honoured to have as our grassroots speaker Paul Joseph. Paul born in South Africa, became a political activist in the anti-apartheid movement working closely with Nelson Mandela with whom he was good friends. We are all facing deeply troubling times both in the workplace and our homes and our communities. I strongly recommend our members to make time to attend our AGM and listen to Paul tell his story. Hopefully he will be able to give us some advice as to what we all can do and remain positive in these troubling times.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2017/02/03/7-march-barnet-unison-agm-fighting-apartheid-to-fighting-austerity/

#PaulJoseph #Mandela #BarnetUNISON

 

18 March – United Nations “Stand Up to Racism” demo Barnet UNISON

Join the Barnet UNISON banner on what is becoming a seminal demonstration in wake of recent events across the globe.

http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/national-demo-refugees-migrants-welcome-stand-racism-islamophobia-anti-semitism/ #StandUptoRacism #BarnetUNISON

 

Saturday 25 March “Join the Durham Teaching Assistants in Durham”

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2017/02/03/saturday-25-march-join-the-durham-teaching-assistants-in-durham/

#ValueUs #FightingBack #BarnetUNISON

Saturday 25 March “Join the Durham Teaching Assistants in Durham”

The Durham TA Lions are calling on the grassroots movement to join them in solidarity in Durham on Saturday 25 March.

Their fight is our fight.

Barnet UNISON will not turn our backs on them.

We will not leave them behind, we look forward to renewing our previous solidarity experience with them at the Durham Miners Gala last year.

The Durham & Derby TAs and Kinsley 3 are disputes we must win.

These workers are showing the rest of us what you can do even in the face of such brutality.

Now it’s our turn.

We will be taking our banner to Durham

Solidarity “Lions of Durham”.

 

One Day Without Us – 20th February #1DayWithoutUs

2017.02.02 One day without us flyer
Barnet UNISON is asking all of our members (and non-members) to wear the colours (purple and green) to show solidarity with our migrant colleagues and the fantastic work they do with us.

On 20th February we would like also teams and schools to spend some time together to collectively acknowledge our colleagues and show we value our colleagues who have come from other counties to build their lives with us.

Hashtag on Twitter is 

You can watch this short video explaining about One Day Without Us

Join the “National Save our NHS demonstration – 4 March”

“The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it.”
(Nye Bevan)Barnet UNISON loves our NHS and sends solidarity to all NHS workers.

Our branch will be marching and we are encouraging our community to join us.

The NHS is in a serious crisis and NEEDS our support.

Our branch in its own small way is hosting an event on

Saturday 25 February called “Sing your Heart out 4 the NHS”

It will start off with some NHS workers explaining about the attacks the NHS are facing and why we must join the national NHS demonstration on 4 March

Details on our flyer here http://bit.ly/2iooKiL

Several of our Barnet UNISON members will be singing in solidarity for the NHS & all of the staff.

The singers will be supported by the Hit n Run band.

It looks like it will be a great night out so why not join us in solidarity for the NHS.

Saturday 25 February 2017, 8pm to 12am

Venue: Midland Hotel, 29 Station Road,

Hendon, London NW4 4PN

 

 

1 2