Press release: “We Are Barnet” – Pay like Barnet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If we’re good enough for Barnet residents, we’re good enough for Barnet terms and conditions”A Barnet Group Worker

“I have rarely discovered such a deeply embedded scale of inequalities and exploitation in a local authority arms length company. This a damning indictment on the London Borough of Barnet who have colluded with this model for nearly a decade.” Dexter Whitfield, Director, European Services Strategy Unit

“It might be the London Living Wage but it’s not the London Living standard, is it?”A Barnet Group Worker on hearing they are to be moved from being paid the National minimum wage to the London Living Wage (£8.72/ hr to £10.85/ hr)

The Barnet Group workers are all on different terms and conditions often for the exact same job. This creates divisions and inequalities. Very few of the workers are on terms and conditions which resemble the Council terms and conditions and although the Council terms and conditions are hardly generous they are better in all areas than the terms and conditions most of the workers in The Barnet Group have. It means the Council can choose to pay inferior terms and conditions if it wants to.

Barnet Group staff worked through the COVID pandemic putting themselves and the lives of their families at risk. A number of them became ill with COVID as a result. They are care workers, support workers and housing workers.

The Barnet Group is a subsidiary wholly owned by Barnet Council. It now employs over 1,000 workers and is almost as big as the Council itself. All of the jobs and services done by The Barnet Group were all once carried out by the Council directly.

‘The embedded inequalities of Terms and Conditions and Pay across The Barnet Group cannot be tolerated any further.  

Barnet Group staff have been providing frontline services to the Public all the way through the Pandemic with little or no reward or recognition for the vital work and services we provide to Barnet residents on behalf of the Council – all we are asking is to be treated with the same respect as our colleagues who work directly for the Council – it really isn’t too much to ask!’  Patrick Hunter, Barnet UNISON convenor for Barnet Homes

“The Barnet Group is ridiculously complicated for work colleagues to understand. Frankly they do not understand how they can be doing the same job but be paid differently and I think we only need to understand one thing – it’s wrong. The high death rate in the UK from COVID is largely due to the socio-economic inequalities in the UK. We have had nearly one continuous year of lockdown. We all suffer when people are not paid enough to live on and thrive. This is why our campaign is about reversing that race to the bottom in pay, terms and conditions.” Helen Davies, Barnet UNISON Branch Chair

End.

Note to Editors: Contact details: Helen Davies Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: Helen.Davies@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

To View Dexter Whitfields report summitted to Chief Executive of The Barnet Group please click on the UNISON link below

Barnet UNISON TBG Pay Claim

“We Are Barnet” Campaign explained https://youtu.be/m7wB0hY45Rk

We Are Barnet” explainer flyer https://bit.ly/3r9TDed

“We Are Barnet – Pay like Barnet” petition http://chng.it/wCm6ZzWTXs

 

 

 

 

 

Invite to Barnet UNISON AGM with Ken and Hilda, Debbie and Anju

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.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcocOGvrjMsGtAYwZn7i5kEeqIy-PS8euKU

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.

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary

Barnet UNISON

 

Breaking News: Covid Plus Joint Trade Union proposals

Dear Barnet UNISON members

The following Joint Trade Union proposals were sent to Barnet Council on Wednesday 4 November 2020.

We will update members as soon as we have a response.

UNISON National issue this statement on schools which you can view here

 

Joint Trade Union statement

COVID Plus. Front line workers

For the purposes of this proposal frontline means workers who cannot work from home.

  1. All staff who are deemed clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable to stay at home for lockdown on full pay.
  2. All frontline staff to receive a monthly COVID payment for the duration of the Pandemic in recognition of the important role they playing in the provision of frontline services and the simple fact frontline workers can’t work from home and have to bear the costs of travel and navigate the risks of travel on public transport.
  3. All frontline workers to have weekly COVID tests.
  4. All frontline workers to receive full pay if they have to isolate or are unable to work due to COVID.
  5. All frontline workers to have unlimited access to counselling services during this pandemic in recognition of the mental stress working with COVID brings to this workforce.
  6. If staff have to work from home due to fact their children are sent home from their school due to COVID then they should remain on full pay.
  7. All COVID related absences whilst recorded should not be used for sickness absence recording.
  8. Any staff having to make emergency visits abroad to visit a dying relative or attend a funeral should receive full pay during the quarantine period.

COVID Plus for home workers.

  1. All staff who are deemed clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable to stay at home for lockdown on full pay.
  2. All workers to have unlimited access to counselling services during this pandemic in recognition of the mental stress working with COVID brings to this workforce.

 

  1. If staff have to work from home due to fact their children are sent home from their school due to COVID then they should remain on full pay and it should be recognised that the worker has a reduced capacity to carry out their work duties.
  2. All COVID related absences whilst recorded should not be used for sickness absence recording.
  3. Any staff having to make emergency visits abroad to visit a dying relative or attend a funeral should receive full pay during the quarantine period.
  4. To recognise the damaging effect working from home has on both physical activity levels and mental health. Also to recognise that the normal practice of leaving home to travel to and from work also of travelling between venues for meetings are now lost to the home worker leading to a more compressed working routine with little opportunity to leave the home. Therefore give a one hour paid daily break to home working staff in addition to their lunch break to enable them to have down time from their computer screens and so that they can physically leave their home for a walk or partake in some form of exercise.
  5. Protocol for structuring virtual meetings to enable time away from the screen e.g. starting meetings at quarter past the hour implying that there should be a 15min break before the meeting starts.
  6. Supervision to incorporate questions relating to mental health wellbeing and physical health as well as checking on the home set up (it should not be assumed home set up is constantly the same).
  7. For a designated person to randomly contact 10 workers per week to find out from them their experience with respect to supervision, welfare checks etc.
  8. Staff with children at home should be given a designated amount of time to dedicate to their child’s learning and leisure.
  9. Key workers working from home who have a clinically or extremely clinically vulnerable child should be allowed to continue working from home if schools are closed but only open to key worker’s children.

Stay safe

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary

Barnet UNISON.

“IMPORTANT Update: Guidance and template letter for vulnerable employees (England)”

28 May 2020.

Please read the latest guidance provided by UNISON

This guidance covers:

1 Clinically extremely vulnerable employees (people at high risk)

2 Clinically vulnerable employees (people at moderate risk)

3 Employees living with / caring for the vulnerable or extremely vulnerable

4 Black employees

5 Older employees (over 60)

6 Employees who have childcare responsibilities

7 Employees who are feeling anxious about returning to work

8 Template letter to head teacher

Click on the link to read the guidance

https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2020/05/Guidance-and-template-letter-for-vulnerable-employees.pdf

If you need any help with this advice please contact the branch office at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

 

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