Barnet UNISON support Defend Paul Holmes campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barnet UNISON notes:

  • The suspension by Labour-led Kirklees Council of UNISON Branch Secretary Paul Holmes in December 2019
  • That Kirklees Council has had almost two years to carry out an investigation
  • That Paul has been a Nalgo and then UNISON steward for 46 years, and Branch Secretary for 32 years, and is currently the President of UNISON
  • That Kirklees UNISON is one of the largest branches in the country and had 3 live strike ballots and one pending when Paul was suspended
  • On hearing that Paul Holmes had been suspended the Council’s Deputy Leader said at the time, “There is a Father Christmas”.

 

Barnet UNISON believes:

  • That an injury to one is an injury to all – employers must not be allowed to get away with attacking our union organisation and our union activists, reps, branch and national officers.
  • The Deputy Leader’s statement shows that UNISON and Paul have been a thorn in their side, and critical to resisting cuts and closures of public services – delaying any investigation for so long indicates the aim was more to undermine union organisation in the Council.

Barnet UNISON resolves:

  • To campaign for Kirklees Council to end the suspension of Paul.
  • To write to both the Chief Executive and the Council Leader calling on them to lift Paul’s suspension.
  • To affiliate to the Defend Paul Holmes Campaign and publicise and mobilise for campaign events and activities.

 

Barnet UNISON Branch Executive unanimously passed this motion on 8 September 2021.

 

Barnet UNISON request the right to speak on behalf of 93 Covid Heroes

On Tuesday 24 August 2021 Barnet UNISON wrote to the Cllr Rajput Sachin Chair of the Adults & Safeguarding Committee

Extract below:

“ I am writing to you today on behalf of our members who provide care services at Apthorp care home.

 

 

On Friday 20 August 2021, 93 staff were informed that as a result of a Council decision to close Apthorp residential home on 31 October 2021 they are all at risk of redundancy.

 

 

This decision has understandably left our members devasted especially considering their hard work looking after vulnerable residents during the height of Covid when there were no vaccines available.

 

 

I must profess I am also concerned about the speed in which the home is to close. These are vulnerable residents and the consequences of moving can sometimes be fatal.

 

 

Our members want to know the real reason as to why the home is closing.

 

For your information these are the questions we submitted to Your Choice Barnet and we are seeking answers:

 

 

  1. Who made the decision to close Apthorp?

 

  1. When did the meeting on the future of Apthorp take place?

 

  1. What information about Apthorp was provided to the decision makers?

 

  1. Please provide copies of the information provided to the decision makers.

 

  1. Please provide a copy of the minutes of the meeting and the actions agreed.

 

I note that there is an Adults and Safeguarding Committee meeting on Tuesday 14 September 2021 at 7 pm.

 

 

Our members have asked that we seek permission from the Chair of this Committee in order we can make our case for this decision to be delayed.

 

I am formally requesting that UNISON is allowed to make representation to this committee.

 

 

Our members will be attending this meeting it would be helpful if they could see that this committee will do the right thing and provide these care workers with an opportunity to put their case against closure.

 

Stay safe.

 

Best wishes

 

John Burgess

 

Branch Secretary.

 

Barnet UNISON

As of Thursday 26 August 2021, we have not yet had a response to this request.

End.

You can’t be disciplined for taking strike action. Thanks UNISON

“Employers can no longer mistreat staff who take part in industrial action, says UNISON”

“UK law had previously prevented employers from sacking staff involved in strike action or other workplace disputes, but not from disciplining or making life difficult for them, says UNISON.

But now, disciplinary action against workers who go on strike will be unlawful. This follows today’s judgment at the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) over a case taken by care worker Fiona Mercer against the Alternative Futures Group (AFG).

She had been involved in organising, and subsequently took part in, a long-running dispute over AFG’s plans to cut payment for sleep-in shifts undertaken by its care staff.”

Read more here.

https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2021/06/employers-can-no-longer-mistreat-staff-who-take-part-in-industrial-action-says-unison/

 

 

BREAKINGNEWS: Local government pay offer rejected

To all local government branches in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

(Scotland for information)

UNISON’s NJC Committee, the union’s national committee for local government pay across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, met this morning to consider the Employers’ 1.5% pay offer. The Committee strongly agreed to reject the offer. In the context of our claim for a 10% pay increase, the offer of 1.5% is insulting, and shows blatant disregard for the hard work and sacrifices made by local government workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, providing essential services and keeping our communities safe and well.

UNISON is calling on the local government employers to enter urgent negotiations so that this offer can be improved. UNISON members are also deeply frustrated at the long delay in resolving term time working issues for school support staff and others, and we are seeking reassurances that this work will be prioritised.

At the same time, UNISON is clear that more funding is needed from central government to ensure that local authorities and schools can continue to provide the full range of services and pay staff properly. UNISON is calling on the National Employers and local authorities to work with us to lobby for more resources for local government.

Contact: NJC pay enquiries inbox NJCPay2021@unison.co.uk

 

Another tragic outsourcing disaster for catering workers in Barnet

Earlier this week our branch was notified by private contractor ISS that they were giving notice to end the Kosher kitchen contract.

This was not a surprise because a number of other schools had already left this contract with ISS earlier this year.

This news is deeply troubling as it feels that the contract is unravelling and those who will be hurt will be the workforce.

When this service was a Council one it was highly successful in generating income to the Council and competing with the private sector.

The workforce was on Barnet Council Terms and Conditions and all had access to the Council Pension Scheme. Moreover, no worker would have been earning less than the London Living Wage.

At the time senior officers responded that nothing would change for staff after they were outsourced but that simply wasn’t true (see the background notes at end of this report).

What actually happened was that some schools started to pull out of the contract with ISS, and sometimes that meant being transferred to yet another contractor some of whom do not pay the London Living Wage and whose Terms and Conditions are appalling in comparison to those of the Council.

Once again it is a mainly female workforce that is being exploited and exposed to the brutality of the race to the bottom agenda of the outsourcing ideology that has blighted so many lives.

I wonder how many schools realise what impact their decisions about Catering are having on this workforce and the families that depend on them.

Schools are education settings promoting opportunities for children to learn and develop, yet at the same time they have responsibilities for the workforce they employ either directly or indirectly through use of contractors. Catering and Cleaning workers are two examples of an exploited workforce, a workforce that is regularly passed from one employer to another. The dehumanising experience of outsourcing and low pay is something which needs to end and it’s something about which Barnet UNISON will not stay silent or allow itself to be gagged.

Background to Catering outsourcing:

The Catering service was outsourced by Barnet Council in 2016.

Barnet UNISON opposed the outsourcing and demanded that:

“The Council should retain the Catering Service in-house and place it within Family Services Delivery Unit in order that all the profits can support frontline services, which are threatened by budget cuts. It should draw up a Public Service Innovation and Improvement Plan for the future of the Catering Service jointly with schools and staff.”

In our report to Councillors we stated:

“The Council is proposing to outsource Education & Skills and Catering services. Yet the Catering Service is a good example of a successful in-house service that has made efficiency improvements and competed with the private sector outside Barnet to win contracts. The Education & Skills and Catering Full Business Case reports an increase in the Catering service annual traded surplus of £241,770, a 3.33% profit, an increase from the 2.67% annual surplus in the Outline Business Case. Furthermore, there is a strong case for all the Education & Skills services to be retained in-house.”

Our report was ignored.

Barnet UNISON was seriously concerned about the impact of outsourcing on this workforce. This is a workforce where:

  • 93% of the total Education & Skills and Catering workforce is female with the Catering Service accounting for an even higher proportion at 96%.
  • 49% of the Catering workforce are Asian and Asian British, Black or Black British or Chinese or other ethnic group compared to 34% white employees based on the available data.

End.

Links:

Global giant ISS restricts rights of former Barnet Council catering workers

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2018/04/26/6089/

“TUPE or not TUPE” that is the stressful question for our outsourced ISS Catering workers

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2019/10/11/tupe-or-not-tupe-that-is-the-stressful-question-for-our-outsourced-iss-catering-workers/

ISS Pay roll changes put low paid workers at risk.

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2019/04/04/iss-pay-roll-changes-put-low-paid-workers-at-risk/

History of the outsourcing of Schools Meals and Education & Skills services

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2015/11/17/history-of-the-outsourcing-of-schools-meals-and-education-skills-services/

BREAKINGNEWS: Mott MacDonald and Barnet Council in contract termination talks

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/06/22/breakingnews-mott-macdonald-and-barnet-council-in-contract-termination-talks/

Update: Barnet UNISON Bin workers overtime dispute

On Wednesday 12 May at 4 pm Barnet UNISON is meeting with the Chief Executive to try to get the Council to do the right thing and end the unfairness and pay workers the right rate of pay for working overtime.

We have produced our flyer in a number of languages

2021.04.22 W&R Overtime Dispute A5 leaflet Romanian

2021.04.22 W&R Overtime Dispute A5 leaflet portuguese

2021.04.22 W&R Overtime Dispute A5 leaflet Polish

2021.04.22 W&R Overtime Dispute A5 leaflet Hungarian

2021.04.22 W&R Overtime Dispute A5 leaflet english

If we are unable to reach an agreement our internal strike ballot will commence the following day.

For further information you can ring the branch office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

You can follow us on Twitter here: @barnet_unison

And on Facebook here: facebook.com/BarnetUNISON

 

End.

 

 

Pay slips and the Barnet Council Pension Scheme

Lots of our members have had problems understanding their pay slips and many of our members are not aware of the 50/50 pension options.

We are pleased to announced that Barnet Council have agreed to put on an online meeting for all Street Scene staff to look at:

  1. Understanding your pay slip
  2. The benefits of the Barnet Council Pension Scheme

Date: Tuesday 11 May 6 – 7 pm

To join the meeting simply click on the link below

Join the Pensions and Payroll information webinar on 11 May at 18:00 -19:00

 

*** Please note this is NOT a UNISON meeting

 

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