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”

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” 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.

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary



Key questions to ask your employer on ventilation in your workplace/classroom.

Dear Barnet UNISON members

In light of the Governments’ decision to reopen schools our branch want to make sure that we can provide as much support for all of our members who are going into work.

Good Ventilation is key to making a workplace/classroom safe.

I hope this briefing will provide useful for our members to be able to use for your workplace Risk Assessments which need to be updated. We have provided some questions you may want to submit to your employer.

Please let us know if you need help.


  • Covid Spread widely in school last term and contributed to the huge rise in overall community infection rate leading to increased restrictions and lockdown.
  • Government accepted this and closed schools to face to face teaching in January, apart from key workers’ and vulnerable children.
  • Early Years provision continued and so did the rate of infection in those age groups with many outbreaks in Nurseries and schools affecting children, staff and families.
  • New Covid variants which became common  in the Autumn are now known to be be more transmissible- maybe 30-70% more transmissible- and also more lethal.
  • It is imperative to reduce transmission of this airborne virus and measures taken last year in school need to be improved far more due to the new variants.

The Government SAGE EMG group reviewed the need for mitigations to reduce transmission of the new Covid variants and recommended that previous ventilation measures should be increased by 1.5 to 1.7 times.

Mitigations to reduce transmission of the new variant SARS-CoV-2 virus, 22 December 2020 (;:

Relevant para: 12. Transmission via the air is primarily mitigated by effective ventilation vi. This is most important in workplace and public settings where people interact, and is also important in the home, especially if there are visitors from outside the household, or someone within it has COVID-19. Where provision of adequate ventilation is difficult, the use of air cleaning devices may be a suitable alternative vii . Higher viral load associated with people who have the new variant could have significant implications for transmission via the air, as previous modelling suggests that viral load is a major determinant of airborne transmission risks. As a precautionary measure it is recommended that ventilation rates stated in previous EMG papersvi are adjusted accordingly to account for the increased risk (potentially 1.5-1.7 times higher). Application of ventilation controls is currently very variable between different settings, and it is essential to ensure that all public and workplace spaces include ventilation as part of their COVID secure risk assessment, and adopt appropriate measures to ensure it is effective (high confidence).

HSE references technical guidance from the building services professional body, CIBSE.

An October 2020 CIBSE update recommends a minimum of 10 litres per second per person of outside air in offices/classrooms and repeats the importance of avoiding recirculating air.

CIBSE Version 4 CIBSE – Emerging from Lockdown;

See Hazards Magazine Venting

  • Measuring CO2 levels is a rough proxy measurement of ventilation
  • Indoor air at 600 to 800 ppm carbon dioxide indicates a relatively well-ventilated room.
  • Over 1,500 ppm means very poor ventilation and action is needed.
  • A minimum of six air changes per hour is recommended.

Key questions on ventilation in your workplace/classroom to ask your employer.

1. What is the airflow level in the workplace/classroom when unoccupied and occupied?

2. What level of outdoor/fresh air per person per second does the ventilation system provide in each workspace/classroom? (Please note CIBSE recommends airflow of 10 litres per person per second of fresh/outdoor and the WHO recommends 6 Room Air changes per hour)

3. Is data provided from a proven competent expert?

4. What are you using to monitor safe airflow levels in each workplace/classroom? For example CO2 monitors can provide a rough proxy measurement of ventilation: 600 to 800 ppm carbon dioxide indicates a relatively well-ventilated room.

5. How regularly are you monitoring safe airflow levels in each workplace/classroom during the day before occupancy and during occupancy?

6. What is the plan of action if airflow levels are unsafe? 


You can contact the Barnet UNISON branch on 0208 359 2088 or email


BreakingNews: National Joint Trade Union Pay & Conditions claims

Dear Member

Please find enclosed details of the National Joint Trade Union Pay & Conditions claims submitted

National Joint Council Pay claim
“A substantial increase with a minimum of 10% on all spinal column points.”
Read full details click on UNISON link below

National Joint Council Conditions claim
“A reduction of the working week to 35 hours with no loss of pay, and a reduction to 34 hours a week in London. Part-time staff to be given a choice of a pro rata reduction, or retaining the same hours and being paid a higher percentage of FTE”
Read full details click on UNISON link below

When will members be told about the outcome?
Negotiations are just starting and last year it went on until September. Whatever the outcome of the negotiations Barnet UNISON members will be consulted on the offer which will be fed back to the National Negotiators.



Annual General Meeting 4th March 2021, 4pm


March 4th at 4pm Time off has been requested from all employers

I don’t think we ever imagined circumstances where as trade unionists we would be facing such wide scale interventions involving potentially life or death decisions. The pressure on the whole branch, which is not an abstract thing – it’s our members and reps – has been intense and continues to be so.

Nonetheless it is you and your engagement which has enabled reps to keep on doing what they are doing and to meet with some success. There is so much more to do though…

We need you to attend our Annual General Meeting in order to make key decisions for the correct running of our branch. If we fail to meet as per rules we will fail to exist and we will not be able to continue to support you.

We have confirmed our zoom account will let in up to 500 people so there will not be a problem for those of you who wish to attend. However, this time you MUST register in advance. This is because the AGM is a member only event and for voting purposes we need to confirm those attending are our members.

You need to make sure when you attend we can identify you, therefore if you know your image in the meeting will appear with “Galaxy” or “i-phone user” rather than your name you need to change this to your real name before you enter the meeting otherwise you are likely to be denied access.

Here is a guide on how to use Zoom


If you still require assistance on how to use Zoom please contact the Branch Office by email

Barnet UNISON is the 2nd fastest growing branch in the Greater London region according to last year’s figures. We welcome our new members. We have also seen a much greater number of colleagues agreeing to become reps which is incredibly important. This growth has been critical in our attempts to keep us all as safe as possible. In order to keep going we need you to attend our AGM

Register in advance for this meeting:

Breaking News: Government threat of funding cut to Heads of Nursery Schools and Early Years

URGENT: Please read the document issued by the Department of Education yesterday evening.

You can read the full report by clicking on the link below.

Coronavirus-related support for submitting an Early Years Census 2021 return


This report is an attempt to:

  1. Defy the science by forcing all Nursery Schools and Early Years to re-open
  2. Bully the Nursery Schools and Early Years with threats of serious funding cuts if they don’t fully reopen immediately
  3. Pick a fight with the Trade Unions.

Summary of the report as follows:

This report changes things seriously for Nursery Schools and Early Years setting because it states that unless they fully reopen they will not get the funding they have had for the previous terms.

As we all know thee above settings are opening for pupils of key workers and vulnerable children.

The Government in this report are saying that is not good enough and that they need to fully reopen.

Nursery Schools and Early Years settings need all of our help. Most parents and members of the public will not be aware of this latest attack.

Please help share this post.






URGENT: All Barnet UNISON members meeting Weds 6 Jan at 6.30 pm

Dear Barnet UNISON members

Things are changing so quickly and the rate of infection extremely worrying as are the increasing number of deaths from COVID.

UNISON has already responded to the clear and present danger in the schools workplace which has seen many of our members send in section 44 letters to their employers.

You can read about these letters here on our website

Barnet UNISON sincerely hopes you all had the best and most relaxing time possible over the Christmas break considering the circumstances. It has certainly not been made easy by the Government.

We have continued to be exposed to one last minute decision after another and with dubious positive effect on keeping infection rates low as they are all botched jobs. Anxieties have gone through the roof and we are all running around trying to pick up the pieces. Some pieces remain sadly permanently broken. We are offering this zoom meeting to all our members to get a sense of how each employer is handling the latest crisis and offering our advice.

Our nursery schools have shown that our front line members can bring about the change which is needed to keep communities safe.

It is worth noting how different this all could have been. Two weeks before the Christmas break the German Government could see the direction of travel of the infection rates. They decided to cut their losses and gave a full half week notice of a total lockdown to start one week before the Christmas break and which would continue for one week after the Christmas break. This was disappointing for its citizens but at least they then knew exactly what they were dealing with and could PLAN!

We want to be able to support all of our members regardless of which employer you work for.

We want to know if you are well and if you feel safe at work.

Our all members UNISON meeting is on Wednesday 6 January 2021 6:30 pm.

Joining details for UNISON Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 841 2858 7345

Passcode: 902996



Important update for Barnet UNISON members in schools.

Dear Member

UNISON National has responded to widespread calls for advice for all of our members working I schools, nurseries and early years settings.

The draft email below is for members to send to their Head Teacher.

Please copy in Barnet UNISON when you send in the email

Model letter for UNISON members in schools, nurseries and early years in England


Dear [insert name of head/employer],

Re: Health & Safety

I am writing to you following the increase in transmission and infection rates currently recorded across England.

You are, I am sure, aware that you have legal duties to protect the health, safety and welfare of your staff and pupils. Those duties arise under the following legislation: –

  • Sections 2 and 3 of the Health & Safety Act 1974
  • Regulations 3 and 8 of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Regulation 4 of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
  • Regulation 4 of the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992
  • Regulation 7 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002

The most recent advice from SAGE is that schools should not open in January[1] other than for children of key workers and vulnerable children. This is because the scientific advice is that it is not safe for schools to open. There are new variants of Covid-19 that are highly infectious and infection rates have increased significantly since schools closed.

I appreciate that measures have been in place since September to allow the school to open but according to SAGE those measures may no longer be sufficient. They state in their most recent report: –

The introduction of Tier 4 measures in England combined with the school holidays will be informative of the strength of measures required to control the new variant but analysis of this will not be possible until mid-January.

Based on the above I do not believe that it is safe for me to return to [insert name of school].

If I do attend [name of school] I believe that this will present a serious and imminent danger to my health and safety.

I am therefore writing to inform you that I am exercising my contractual right not to attend an unsafe place of work. I believe that not attending work in the current circumstances is an appropriate step for me to take for the following reasons:

  1. The dangers that are preventing me from attending work are the risk of contracting coronavirus and or spreading coronavirus to others.
  2. The person(s) I am seeking to protect are myself, my family, our pupils, their families, my colleagues, their families and members of the public.


  1. I believe that this danger is serious because coronavirus infection is potentially fatal and has already resulted in more than 73,512 deaths in the UK with a significant up surge in recent weeks.


  1. I believe that, if I were to attend work, the danger would be imminent because before Christmas the highest infection rates were in children of school age, and the new variant may be more transmissible amongst students than previously.


  1. I will be happy to return to the workplace once SAGE is satisfied that the R rate has decreased, scientific advice has been produced on safety measures required to make schools more “Covid secure”, risk assessments have been updated and any necessary further safety measures implemented.


In the meantime, I am of course willing to carry out any of my duties or alternative agreed duties at my grade that can be undertaken from my home, and to be in school supporting provision and the learning of key worker and vulnerable children where necessary.

Yours sincerely,




Please note this advice applies to all primary schools, special schools, SEND and early years settings in England.

You can read the advice in full on the UNISON website here





Breaking News: Monthly sessions with Payroll starts February 2021.

Dear Members

Barnet UNISON has had too many cases of members contacting us about payroll issues.

It is really important that you get the correct pay for the work you have done.

One of the biggest issues is understanding the pay slips.

I am pleased to announce that Street Scene are introducing monthly sessions with Pay roll.

These sessions will be run by the Capita HR Payroll Team.

The first session will take place on 10 February in the Pacific Room between 12:00pm and 14:00pm by appointment only.

The sessions will be for individuals to speak directly to payroll via a private video call.

Appointments will be available in 15 minute slots.

How to book a session?

You can book a session in advance by:

  • Requesting via your supervisor
  • Provide them your details, and
  • Provide them with any information you can about the question or issue you want to discuss.

Your supervisor will then make your booking on your behalf and let you know the time.

Now is the time to make sure you take up this opportunity to get answers to some of the questions you have about your pay and your pay slip.

If you want a UNISON rep with you please let us know what time your session is booked in order we can sit down with you in the meeting.

Telephone 0208 359 2088 or email


John Burgess

Branch Secretary





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