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

 

 

 

Pay our Bin workers the proper rate of Pay over the Christmas and New Year

Barnet Bin workers are some of the lowest paid staff in the Council, therefore at this time of the year UNISON had hoped that the Council would want to recognise them for the vital work they do under what have been very challenging circumstances over the last 12 months.

Unfortunately the Council have misjudged the mood of the workforce.

After a year of trying to make sense of the bin collection debacle and now facing further disruption because our two year old depot is sliding down the hill workers are being told they are to be treated differently to other higher paid council workers.

The latest management offer to workers is in relation to work over two weekends over Christmas and New Year, it falls far short of what they should be paid.

All UNISON is asking for is for the staff to be treated the same as many other council workers who work weekends.

The Council has agreed many local agreements that have seen other Council workers receive time and half for working on a Saturday and double time for working on a Sunday.

Sadly, management is refusing to pay the Street Scene workforce at the same rate as other Council workers.

UNISON believes this is discriminatory against manual workers and sends a message that the Council does not care about the lowest paid workforce.

This is why UNISON is meeting with the workforce on Wednesday 4 December 2019.

 

 

Don’t blame the Barnet bin workers: You couldn’t make it up.

This time last year we were in the fourth week of the Bin Collection changes. Barnet UNISON bin workers already knew that the changes would not work. But it had been made very clear that the views of the workforce were not seen as important to the successful delivery of the service.

How wrong was that?

By Christmas 2018 the collection was in chaos as this is one of the busiest times of the year for Bin collections.

UNISON suggested a way out but we were ignored.

In 2019 bin workers were scratching their heads wondering where all the money was coming from to pay the ever growing army of agency workers. A service that started at 6 am and finished by 2pm was now running up until 11 pm at night.

But every time UNISON asked about the rounds we were told it’s just “teething problems” and “things will soon be sorted.”

In 2019, at various Council Committees, councillors started to try to get a grip of what was going on as the agency spend continued to climb and fall then climb again. Sitting in the stalls listening to officers and councillors was something to behold, hardly anything discussed seemed to reflect what our bin worker members were telling UNISON.

After years of representing workers in Barnet Council UNISON is used to being ignored but in the case of the bin service it was still astounding that no one seemed to be able to sort out what was all so apparent to the bin workers.

Then we had the “sliding depot” or the “crack” as it was called in the depot. UNISON watched in bewilderment as the crack got longer, wider and deeper. The road was so bad the vehicles had to drive really really slowly just in case they tipped over.

Obviously someone in the summer managed to convince the Council that there was a serious Health and Safety risk and that the idea of part of the depot sliding down on to Oakleigh Road South was suddenly unpalatable.

Missed opportunity.

Here was an opportunity for the Council to put things right for Barnet residents. The depot is severely constrained by having half of it cordoned off for major building works that were bound to impact on the bin collection service.

“Here was an opportunity for Bin Collection change 2.0”

UNISON bin workers would say “Tear up the crazy area collection proposals” and organise meetings with the bin worker drivers who know the borough streets intimately to help sort out bin collection routes that will work.

UNISON seized on this opportunity to help; after all there was new management in after the departure of two senior managers. We hoped for a change. We said we would help get drivers to help sort the mess out.

What happened?

More of the same. The recent changes to the bin collection service that have moved some rounds to a Saturday took place without consultation with drivers. Early feedback from our members is that things are not going as well as hoped and still the spend on agency continues.

Last week UNISON heard that staff were being pulled for not completing rounds.

Barnet UNISON has made it clear to the Council that they will countenance no blame on our members for being unable to make something that is fundamentally flawed work well for residents.

You couldn’t make this up but it is true.

With all the changes of managers and a depot that is falling apart our amazingly loyal bin workers on whom we all rely, still come into to do a difficult dirty job on low pay.

Don’t blame them for the changes – those decisions were made by others.

BREAKING NEWS: School Support Staff. What we are recommending

Barnet UNISON has now written to 67 schools where we have reason to believe our members are not being paid correctly.

If your school talks to you about this matter please refer them back to Barnet UNISON.

Our proposal to settle this matter is as follows:

Barnet UNISON would like to reach a local resolution on this matter which would involve the following:

  1. The School adopting the correct formula for paying TTO staff.

Barnet UNISON is recommending to all schools in Barnet that they should adopt the annual leave policy and term time formula used by Barnet Council since 1 April 2018.

  1. Backdating compensation for historic underpayments.
  2. Compensation for any loss of pension resulting from the miscalculation of annual leave and pay.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pay please ring our Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

End.

Background:

URGENT UPDATE: Your Pay could be wrong. This is what you must do.

URGENT UPDATE: Your Pay could be wrong. This is what you must do.

“Already over worked and underpaid, would you work for free?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2019/11/04/already-over-worked-and-underpaid-would-you-work-for-free/

Barnet UNISON gives Capita Estates service the Red Card

Last Monday all of the Waste and Recycling service started from Oakleigh depot. Due to a serious strategic mistake Barnet Council sold off their own depot which was based in the centre of the borough (Mill Hill) before they had secured an alternative.

As a result a small depot was built in Oakleigh Road South (east of the borough). This depot was not big enough which meant that Barnet Council had go to cap in hand to Harrow Council to pay to base some of their services from their depot.

Workers couldn’t believe it. They shook their heads in disbelief but then just got on with the job.

The costs of operating out of the depot have become a burden that can no longer be sustained and Barnet UNISON welcomes the attempt to re-unite what was previously united.

Barnet Council is now using the former Brogans depot for the extra vehicles.

Why the red card?

Early in September Barnet UNISON reported that the lighting was not working in the depot. It seems to take forever to get things fixed in the depot. This is not a criticism of the operational management as the estate service is run by Capita.

As the date of the move back from Harrow drew close Barnet UNISON again pressed for the lighting to be fixed. The extra vehicles increased our anxiety of the risk to the health and safety of our members.

It is important to remember that the existing site is about to become a building site as urgent engineer works are about to start to stop the depot sliding down the hill into Oakleigh Road South. This means the traffic management is under increased pressure.

On Monday 4 November I was sent pictures by our members to confirm that lighting was not on. It was predictable but UNISON hoped that this time things might change.

Day after day UNISON was contacted all week, five days in a row lighting problems down the depot.

Red Card

On Friday UNISON spoke with operational management to say that this could not continue and that measures must be put in place to secure the health and safety of the depot.

Barnet UNISON has attended the Committee meetings where the Capita contract was reviewed. For a short period the Estate function was down to come back in-house. However, in December 2018 Barnet Council once again let Capita off the hook.

Barnet UNISON is demanding the Estate service is brought back in-house our staff health and safety must not be compromised.

More later…….

Good News: Street Scene service moving out of Harrow depot

Barnet UNISON will never understand how a major strategic decision like moving the Council depot was made without a viable option was available to the Council frontline services.

What happened was a classic fudge/ad hoc/make do. To put it simply it has been a disaster.

The Waste and Recycling and Street Cleansing services were split between the new depot in Oakleigh Road South and London Borough of Harrow depot.

Not only was it bad operationally it was expensive and the ongoing costs have been a constant strain on the service.

The Gritting service was also moved to Harrow and we all know what happened when we had a bad winter two years ago despite the heroic efforts of the workforce to try and make it work.

It was never going to work. The staff across all services have tried their best to make it work. The fact that staffing budgets were also cut simply added to the problem. .

What didn’t help and still doesn’t help is seeing that the Capita contracts have cashed in to the tune of £438 million since the contract started which is £165.6 million more than the contract value. Try explaining that to workers whose pay or pensions has been messed up by Capita or to the staff working at Oakleigh who have seen their branch new depot splitting like it has been hit by a minor earth quake.

What is the good news?

The good news is that the Brogans site which has been empty for a long time has been secured by Barnet Council.

This means the whole of the Waste and Recycling service is now running out of Oakleigh Depot. However we are still running Street Cleansing out of Harrow which means we are still paying rent on the Harrow site and now the Brogans site.

Depot Building works

The depot has some serious problems the subsidence has split the road and there appears to be real risk of a landslide which is something that has happened in the past. This risk was clearly sufficiently serious for the Council to arrange for buildings works to begin sometime in November this year.

Rounds changes.

As a result of the major building works at the depot there is an impact on the Bin collection service. Barnet Council has written to residents about the changes.

It is disappointing that the changes had not been run by the drivers. This mistake was made with the previous Bin collection changes.

There is nothing we can do now.

It remains to be seen if the proposed changes will work.

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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