BREAKINGNEWS: Mott MacDonald and Barnet Council in contract termination talks

On Thursday 18 June 2020 former Barnet Council staff working for Cambridge Education were summoned to a succession of meetings where they were informed that, due to the impact of Covid19, discussions are now taking place about ending the contract on 31 August 2020.

The staff are being told there are two possible options:

  • Transfer back into the Council
  • Transfer to a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC)

Consultation on the options started on Friday 19th June 2020 with a briefing for head teachers.

There will be a briefing for the Parent-Carer Forum sometime this week.

Consultation ends 30 July 2020.

The Council wants to start TUPE consultation on 6 July and end consultation on 20 July 2020.

Staff will be informed of the transfer arrangements on 30th July 2020.

Services and staff transfer on 1 September 2020.

“The private sector doesn’t like taking the risks for delivering public services and this is yet another damning example. Mott MacDonald is a global giant want out of this Education Services contract. Barnet Council has stood resolute in the face of the COVID challenge and has used its resources and staff to address the needs of the most vulnerable in the community. This latest crisis could not come at a worse time. The staff delivering this service have been valiantly supporting Barnet Schools to continue to provide for pupils during this pandemic. Now, at a time when they are mobilising to support Barnet Schools reopening in September, they are facing an unknown future. As someone who attended the outsourcing meetings with staff I remember all too well the staff concerns as to what would happen if the contractor wanted to end the contract. This concern was played down at the time, as it always is, by and assurance that they were dealing with a global giant and what could possibly go wrong?

If COVID has shown us anything it has to be that direct control of public services means you are more agile, more efficient and most importantly you have CONTROL.

The obvious and most common sense decision is to simply transfer the services back to the Council. This would enable staff and the service to focus on doing what they do best – delivering support for Barnet Schools.” (John Burgess Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON).

*****
The Trade Unions have not been sent the consultation report which was promised last week, however a copy has been provided. Not a good start to consultation.

To view the report click on the link below

Future of ES – briefing for staff – 19.6.20 final

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: John Burgess Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

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/

 

Catering Services: “Jewel in the Crown”: Privatisation of Education & Skills and Catering in Barnet

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/Barnet%20Jewel%20in%20the%20Crown%20final.pdf

 

Education & Skills and Catering: Threat of large-scale subcontracting

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/sites/default/files/Barnet%20Education%20&%20Skills%20subcontracting.pdf

 

 

Barnet UNISON “Keeping workers safe during the transition from Lockdown.”

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.

2020.05.05.COVID 19 opening services report FINAL

Branch ZOOM meeting “COVID19: Your Health and Safety Rights at Work”

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.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88063991632?pwd=MjRnbUErVVp0MEsxNDFubWtRUzd6QT09

Meeting ID: 880 6399 1632

Password: 147747

 

Need help using ZOOM click on our guide below 

How to use Zoom Guide

Barnet Trade Unions write to the Heads of all Barnet Schools about reopening safely.

The following email was sent to the Head of every Barnet School.

 

“Dear Head,

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:

  • Risk Assessment while open with just for keyworkers’ and vulnerable children
  • Risk Assessment when the school is re-opened
  • The daily cleaning regime.
  • PPE provision
  • Training in the use and disposal of PPE.

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.

Stay Safe

Regards

Barnet Trade Unions”

 

Barnet UNISON statement:

If you have any questions or concerns email the branch at

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our

 

Website here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BarnetUNISON/

 

Twitter https://twitter.com/barnet_unison

 

 

Your Rights at Work: Forced to take annual leave during the lockdown?

An emerging issue being raised by some of our members across a number of employers is the issue of forced annual leave.

It has come to our attention that staff are being asked to take annual leave during the current lockdown.

Workers have a statutory right to take annual Leave.

For many workers during the current national crisis their home has become their workplace.

It is important for the mental health and well being of all workers that they have time away from their workplace.

During the lockdown workers are unable to go away on holidays

Barnet UNISON position is that unless a worker requests to take annual leave during the lock down the employer should not be using this crisis to force workers to take annual leave.

What does the Government say?

“Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years.”

“There is also an obligation on employers to ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year – failure to do so could result in a financial penalty.

The regulations will allow up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next 2 leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.

This will mean staff can continue working in the national effort against the coronavirus without losing out on annual leave entitlement.

The changes will also ensure all employers affected by COVID-19 have the flexibility to allow workers to carry over leave at a time when granting annual leave could leave them short-staffed in some of Britain’s key industries, such as food and healthcare.”

Read more here
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rules-on-carrying-over-annual-leave-to-be-relaxed-to-support-key-industries-during-covid-19

Barnet UNISON advice

If you are having any annual leave issues with your employer please contact the union at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or you can leave a message speaking slowly and clearly please include your name and telephone number on 020 8359 2088. We will respond as soon as we can.

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