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” #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” #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.”

#IDanielBlake #BarnetUNISON


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

#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. #StandUptoRacism #BarnetUNISON


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

#ValueUs #FightingBack #BarnetUNISON

Unified Pay: “Myths & Updates” – School staff please read


Unified Pay Update

New contracts

Last term Barnet Council employees received their new contracts. Most staff had no issues so they signed their contract. There were a smaller group of workers who had issues. For these staff UNISON advised that they did not need to sign until the appeal/issue had been resolved. In some cases some staff signed even though they had an outstanding issue. In which case once their appeal was resolved they received an updated contract.  It is important that members keep a copy of their new contracts somewhere secure.

School staff:

I have been informed that Barnet Council are about to issue new contracts for all their employees (excluding teachers) in schools

It is really important that if UNISON members do have any issues or concerns they contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email

On Monday and Tuesday we have Louis Smyth specifically to deal with UNISON school member issues and Nadia Joseph on Wednesday.


“If I don’t sign the contract I will be made redundant”

No, no no. This is not correct. If you feel any pressure or are uncertain what to do then please contact your local rep or the unison office.

Sick Pay Scheme

In the new contract there is mention of a potential change which could see some staff having pay deducted if they are off sick. It is important to note that this is an ‘if.’ UNISON are already in negotiations about a new sickness policy, until we have reached an agreement the current sickness scheme is in place. It is worth noting that the original Council proposals was to withdraw from the current sick pay scheme for example end the 6 months full pay, 6 months half pay if you were seriously ill

Nursery Nurse group appeal

In the negotiations with the council there was an agreement that discussion about the 3.4% would continue after implementation. I can report that I am in the process of putting together an appeal for the Nursery Nurses with the support of some of our members. A meeting whereby I will be giving feedback on what I am proposing is being held

52 Week Teaching Assistants group appeal

I am meeting with the Council negotiating team to discuss a proposal which I hope I will be able to discuss with members shortly.

Individual Appeals

I have a list of members who have individual appeals. It is very important that members provide the UNISON office with all documentation, and arrange for a 1:1 meeting with me in order that I can best able to provide you with support. I have been supporting non schools members for the last five months and this process has worked well.

*** If you have sent in an appeal and have not notified UNISON, we will not be able to help. It is very important that you notify the branch if you want the support.

Stage 1 appeals

These meetings are not meant to be stressful for members. They an opportunity for a discussion with the employer, employee and their UNISON rep. In the many other Stage 1 meetings for non-school staff, management have been very supportive of any of their staff who are facing a loss in pay. I have found that the approach taken for non-schools staff has been largely positive for staff. The solution to the loss in pay can often be resolved by exploring a number of different approaches.

I would hope that UNISON members working in schools would expect that they should have the same treatment.

This is why when UNISON members working in schools contact the branch for support, they will be offered a 1:1 meeting with me. I need to listen and then advise, before we go into the Stage 1 meeting.

Faith schools

A number of faith schools are adopting Unified Pay collective agreement. It is important that members make sure they keep our office informed if they have any issues or concerns.

It is really important that if UNISON members do have any issues or concerns they contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email

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”.


Message of Solidarity from Barnet Green Party

‘We at Barnet Green Party are writing to express our solidarity with the three day strike action being taken by your library workers. Barnet Council’s proposed cuts to posts, staffing hours, library space and other resources is completely unacceptable. It demonstrates an absence of imagination in modernising libraries to adapt to the electronic-era. We believe that the shrinking, selling and cutting staffing at libraries is the action of a heartless undemocratic council. The selling off of public goods which are treasured by Barnet’s residents and of which they are custodians with no mandate to dispose of is quite simply scandalous and we shall continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in resisting the cuts to library services as we have sadly had to do for years.’

Dan Ozarow

Trade Union Liaison Officer, Barnet Green Party

Message of Solidarity from Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary

“On behalf of PCS, I send our full solidarity for your strike. You have the full support of PCS in your fight against cuts to public libraries in Barnet and the forced privatisation of these vital public services and we are absolutely clear that your fight is our fight. PCS members have taken action over similar issues in recent years. Our members at the Land Registry successfully fought off privatisation in the past, and are now facing another struggle to stop another attempted sell off. Please let us know if there is any other practical support we can provide.”

(Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary)

Solidarity Message to the Barnet Strikers From John McDonnell

“I want to pay tribute and send solidarity greetings to Barnet UNISON Library workers who are taking three days strike action starting Monday 13 June. They have been fighting an inspirational work place and community campaign with the Save Barnet Libraries campaign. I would like to thank them for their sterling efforts to expose and prevent the proposed widespread decimation of their Library service which will see half the workforce dumped onto the dole queue. Barnet UNISON has been a fine example of how trade unions and their community can work together in fighting austerity policies which are destroying local public services up and down the country, they have my 100% support.” John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor


Join the original members of Lesbians & Gays Support Miners, Durham Miners Union, Barnet UNISON on #Kids4Libraries march

Barnet UNISON Press Release: 11 September 2015  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Join the original members of Lesbians & Gays Support Miners, Durham Miners Union, Barnet UNISON on #Kids4Libraries march

Support #Kids4Libraries march 12 September

On a new civil rights battleground original members of Lesbians & Gays Support Miners, Durham Miners Union and Barnet UNISON are uniting with scores of children demanding their right to read:

Children’s March for Libraries

10.15 AM





Nicola Field and Jonathan Blake, two of the original members of LGSM which inspired the critically-acclaimed film, Pride, will be joining hundreds of school children and teenagers who are standing up for their right to professionally-run libraries this Saturday, carrying the iconic banner of the original struggle.  The march starts at East Finchley Library which is used in droves by kids and teens in increasing numbers but which is under threat of closure or de-professionalisation by the London Borough of Barnet.  Barnet is home to more children per capita than anywhere in the UK and has embarked on a self-described ‘stark’ plan to close or remove professional staff (68% cut in the staff) from as many as seven libraries, all with rapidly increasing growth of use by young people.

In advance of the crucial vote on libraries on 12th October at Hendon Town Hall at 7pm, the non-partisan, pro-literacy Save Barnet Libraries campaign has received over 10,000 signatures of support.

In addition to a major turnout of children, acclaimed members of the creative community are rallying to express their strength of feeling about this vital public service under attack.  Bafta-award winning actress Rebecca Front, novelist Alan Gibbons and award-winning performer and poet Joshua Seigal will also speak and then march with the children to Finchley Church End Library where they will be joined by a brass band and a big red bus (11.15am Church End Library, 24 Hendon Lane N3 1TR).  Footballer and author Dan Freedman will be amongst more speakers at Church End before the march continues to North Finchley Library.

Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘First I am want to add my apologies to the event and the huge admiration for Barnet UNISON. I want to send a message of support to John Burgess & the Save Barnet Libraries campaign for their tireless & inspirational community campaign to protect their local Library service. I would encourage everyone to join their Kids4Libraries this Saturday 12 September. Barnet Council are determined to outsource all of their services I salute Barnet UNISON & the community campaign for their ongoing fight to defend public services.’

Nicola Field comments about LGSM: ‘I saw workers’ rights and sexual liberation as parts of the same fight. Thatcher was out to smash the National Union of Mineworkers. She was also exploiting the Aids pandemic to demonise the increasingly confident gay movement. She, like Cameron now, wanted to create hatred and divisions in order to distract people from the cuts, privatisation and social deprivation. Today denying young people their right to read and study in a safe and non-judgemental setting is another uncaring assault on fairness and progress.’

Davey Hopper, General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association said: ‘I’m proud to bring our branch banner to march through Thatcher’s former constituency with Barnet UNISON a fighting trade union branch leading the way in the fight against austerity. As we fought the pit closures and the devastation that would have and has had on our own communities, their community campaign is fighting Library closures and proposed sacking of 68% of the staff. Solidarity to Barnet UNISON and solidarity to Save Barnet Libraries campaign.’

John Mc Donnell MP: ‘I send my support for this magnificent campaign that has brought UNISON and the local community together to protect vitally needed public services in Barnet. This campaign is an example of how to mobilise the whole community effectively in such a good cause.’

UNISON Branch Secretary John Burgess said: ‘The proposed sacking of 68 % of the workforce is clear evidence that current proposals will mean the end of a comprehensive public library service for the residents of Barnet. It is impossible to view these disgraceful proposals in isolation from what is going on across Council services across the UK. Councils have had their government funding cut by 40% since 2010, which is a deliberate attack on local democracy and public services. Our march is attempting to raise awareness within our community and wider afield of what is at stake. Our message to the Council is think again, Libraries are beacons within our communities which must be allowed to flourish.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: John Burgess Barnet UNISON on 07738389569 or 0208 359 2088 or email:


The Council’s proposals include;

· Library staffing budget to be cut by up to 68%. It likely that even staffed libraries will not have enough workers available to maintain a sufficient level of service.

· Two or six Libraries to close

· Most remaining Libraries to be reduced in size. They could no longer house adequate book collections, or a sufficient number of computers for the public to use.  There will not be enough study space to meet the needs of students.

· Libraries will be privatised or run by a “Mutual”. There will be no guarantee they will be run for public good and not for profit.

· Libraries will be unstaffed for two thirds of their opening times.   Library users will have to rely on self-service machines and volunteers (if any can be found) for help. As a result of not having staff on site, children will be denied entry to the libraries for most of the day.

Barnet UNISON & Library Campaigners note that libraries are a vital source of reference and fiction material for the LGBT community, especially young LGBT people with teen fiction booming for this audience.  Removing access to books with either closure or expecting unpaid, untrained ‘staff’ to do the jobs of sacked professional librarians has raised concerns about a failure to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service as required by the Libraries and Museums Act (1964) as well as failure to consider duties under the Equalities Act (2010).

The libraries Barnet has targeted for closure are experiencing an average of a 20% increase in use by children.  Barnet announced its plans following a 1% council tax cut prior to the election.

Earlier this year the Department for Culture Media and Sport reported that 70% of all children used a library last year.  Data from Nielsen for the publishing industry indicates that libraries are vital for both children and teens as they discover and explore books, despite the rise of social media.

Kids4Libraires march video

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