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Meeting ID: 817 5493 1410
The NJC UNISON side met remotely on May day to take a position on the revised offer received from the national employers of 2.75% and an increase on the basic green book leave entitlement from 21 to 22 days but with no corresponding increase in the long service leave so effectively it meant bringing forward one of the days previously awarded at five years’ service. We are aware the majority of London Councils do not use the Green Book scheme having agreed more generous local provisions.
The meeting was held on a video-conference system which has been approved by Head Office as a tool that protects security and participation. London Region was fully represented with Sean Fox, Clara Mason and Mary Lancaster in attendance.
Prior to the meeting we had sought views from Branches via the regional office, apologies for the shortness of time and thanks to the 25 Branches who responded out of the 33 consulted. Of these 17 supported a recommendation to Reject and 8 supported a recommendation to accept the revised offer.
The meeting received an update from the negotiating team on our efforts to further engage the national employers in joint approaches to central government to source more funding to allow a greater increase. Particularly at the current time when workers in local government are performing vital roles to keep people safe and to provide key services. While the National Employers accepted this the view they had taken was that pursuance of such funding was a matter for the political leadership of the devolved nations rather than part of the negotiations, they also reiterated that the current offer was their final offer and that there had been no appetite to offer a reduction in the working week although they would be happy to enter into “without prejudice” discussions on this as part of the ongoing challenge to meet increased national living wage levels in future years.
We received feedback from the regions which was mixed almost unanimously they expressed a view that the offer was insufficient but there were differing views on whether members would have an appetite for action in the current climate. Some thought it would strengthen the feeling while others were concerned people would be frightened of another economic downturn leading to more cuts.
There was a lengthy discussion on whether consultation was feasible in the current lock-down and a consensus emerged that was reflected in the bulletin issued on 4th May 2020 to Branches. In short this meant that we would go back to the employers and would not accept their offer as being final until approaches had been made to government to seek additional funds. Our concern was to ensure we did not consult members on an offer that would weaken the argument for more money to reflect our contribution to the Covid 19 response.
The full statement can be found at https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2020/05/lg-pay-statement/ there is also a blog from Jon Richards at https://www.unison.org.uk/blogs/2020/05/blog-njc-pay/
The only other item discussed was the NJC Guidance on Covid 19 and we explored a number of areas where updated or further guidance might be developed. This included of course the need for robust advice on the eventual relaxation of the lock-down in order to keep members safe. Officers also highlighted they were running some press items on the inadequacy of the Public Health guidance on shielding particularly where workers were living with someone who was shielding. There were concerns that some authorities were adopting these weaker Public Health guidance in preference to the far clearer and safer NJC Circulars issued jointly.
See https://southeast.unison.org.uk/news/article/2020/04/milton-keynes-council-criticised-risking-health-vulnerable-staff/ regarding one Council and https://www.unison.org.uk/news/2020/05/frightened-workers-self-isolating-protect-vulnerable-loved-ones-shouldnt-punished/ regarding UNISON’s National campaign for a more protective and supportive furlough scheme.
Branches having issues with regard to the non-adoption of the NJC provisions by employers who are part of the NJC were asked to make their Regional Office aware of these examples. Generally members of the NJC welcomed the circulars issued to date and the point was made that they demonstrated the role of the NJC being about more than simply pay.
Sean Fox, Clara Mason, Mary Lancaster
* National Joint Council
Barnet UNISON has submitted the following report which sets out our list of demands for full Trade Union engagement in the transition from Lockdown.
“It is really important at this time that workers trust that their employer ensures the workplace is safe. COVID 19 has brought risks to our members’ lives in a way many of our members have never faced before. Therefore, it is important not just to say the workplace is safe, BUT to demonstrate that is safe by being transparent and open and ensuring risk assessments for every work place are easily available for the workforce to read. On Tuesday 5 May 2020, we submitted our report to Barnet Council Chief Executive as the first step to work to ensure all our members are safe at work. We will report back on the negotiations over the coming days and weeks.” (John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON)
Some of our proposals set out in the report are:
1. The Council to inform and consult with the Trade Unions in a full and timely manner on the transition from Lockdown. By engaging with the Trade Unions the Council can receive our support in the process, and help build workforce support for changed ways of working such as working from home, social distancing measures and deployment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
2. The Council to ensure that protective measures are in place for workers most vulnerable to Covid-19, pregnant women, new mothers and employees sharing households with people requiring shielding.
3. Covid-19 Risk Assessments to be in place relating to specific worksites and work tasks. The Council should consult and obtain agreement with the Trade Unions on these Risk Assessments. No worksites or tasks to be engaged until such Risk Assessments are in place following agreement with the Trade Unions. Risk Assessments to be accessible to all Council employees.
4. Increased stringency and frequency of cleaning of workplaces and equipment during the transition from Lockdown.
5. Social distancing to be in place at work sites, with clear guidance given to workers. Buildings should not be open to the public without strict and enforceable social distancing measures in place, following consultation and agreement with the Trade Unions.
6. To reduce the risk of infection the Council should consider and implement changes to the layout of workplaces, adjusting working patterns, alternating sections of the workforce on sites, and staggering travelling times. The Trade Unions to be consulted with on any such changes.
7. In line with Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 the Council will not submit any worker refusing to work in an unsafe workplace to Disciplinary or other punitive measures. It recognises workers have the right to withdraw from and refuse to return to an unsafe workplace, and that they have legal protection from dismissal, disciplinary or any other detriment for raising a health and safety issue.
8. PPE must be provided where necessary, and no-one should be asked to re-use PPE inappropriately.
9. Employees to receive instruction on the safe use, maintenance and cleaning of PPE as necessary.
10. Equalities Impact Assessments to be in place for the transition from Lockdown. Across the UK Black and Ethnic Minority workers have suffered disproportionate harm from the impact of the virus. The Council must seek to prevent this disproportionate impact and comply with its public sector equality duty.
11. The Council to inform workers about the availability and criteria of Covid-19 testing and to support workers in obtaining such testing when criteria are met.
Click on link below to read the UNISON report.
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Barnet UNISON Branch ZOOM meeting “COVID19: Your Health and Safety Rights at Work”
After five weeks of lockdown and ongoing media speculation about when lockdown will end Barnet UNISON has secured Simon Hester former Health and Safety Executive Inspector as our Guest Speaker for our first ZOOM Branch Meeting on Wednesday 6 May at 6pm.
To join the Barnet UNISON Zoom meeting click on the link below.
Meeting ID: 880 6399 1632
I hope that you are well and managing to cope under these extraordinary circumstances we all find ourselves in.
We, the Trade Union Leads, are writing to all Heads in response to the ongoing speculation as to when schools may be asked to open up again especially as a vaccine or cure is not likely to available in this calendar year and, therefore, it is likely that we will need to continue social distancing.
Our concerns are both for the children and the staff.
We want to ensure the schools are as safe as possible in terms of dealing with COVID 19.
Our members are very worried about schools re-opening before it is safe. They have noted that the provision of PPE for NHS workers and Care workers has been a worrying and ongoing issue, being played out on national media on a daily basis. Whilst assurances have been made that supplies of PPE for the staff will be delivered day after day by senior members of the Government it is clear for all to see that this has not happened and it continues to be a serious issue for staff. Furthermore our members have watched with horror when news broke last week that PPE supplies were running out and that sadly Public Health England were revising their guidance down in response to supply rather than the level of risk to the workforce and patients.
It is with this back drop that we want to ensure that when schools open, the school is able to assure staff and parents that the workplace will be a safe place for all.
To this end we are asking all schools what measures they currently have in place in terms of the following:
Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries or believe we may be able to support your school and staff during this national emergency.
Barnet Trade Unions”
If you have any questions or concerns email the branch at
You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our
Website here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/
Dear Barnet UNISON members,
The lockdown is clearly having an impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
Below is a service called Able Futures who provide some excellent services for staff, some of our Barnet UNISON members are already using and providing some positive feedback.
Able Futures delivers the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service which can give nine months support from a mental health professional at no cost.
If staff are experiencing issues such as anxiety, depression, grief or stress, or are struggling to deal with problems such as debt, disrupted sleep or relationship breakdowns that may be affecting mental health, Able Futures can help you build resilience, tackle issues, feel better and learn new ways to manage your mental health throughout the ups and downs of life.
There’s no waiting list and you can apply online or by calling 0800 321 3137.
Below are some Able Futures resources and information from other agencies.
Able Futures continue to offer a service, adapted to offer all telephone and online support now to avoid contact.
If you are furloughed, you are still entitled to support, as well as any family members that may be eligible.
Signing up is just a few clicks and only takes a few minutes via the Able Futures website:
You may also find excellent resources and advice on the following websites:
Young Minds for the younger people in our communities:
This organisation can offer training and awareness:
Mental Health Foundation, some excellent information:
Barnet Council are looking for staff to volunteer at this time of national emergency.
There are a number of roles they are looking for staff to help such as:
Working in the Food Bank which based in the RAF museum.
If you take a role as a volunteer it is on a voluntary basis it will not mean you experiencing a financial detriment or changes to your terms and conditions.
To find out more about the COVID-19 council staff deployment programme
click on the link below
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the COVID19 Redeployment form