Breaking News: Covid Plus Joint Trade Union proposals

Dear Barnet UNISON members

The following Joint Trade Union proposals were sent to Barnet Council on Wednesday 4 November 2020.

We will update members as soon as we have a response.

UNISON National issue this statement on schools which you can view here

 

Joint Trade Union statement

COVID Plus. Front line workers

For the purposes of this proposal frontline means workers who cannot work from home.

  1. All staff who are deemed clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable to stay at home for lockdown on full pay.
  2. All frontline staff to receive a monthly COVID payment for the duration of the Pandemic in recognition of the important role they playing in the provision of frontline services and the simple fact frontline workers can’t work from home and have to bear the costs of travel and navigate the risks of travel on public transport.
  3. All frontline workers to have weekly COVID tests.
  4. All frontline workers to receive full pay if they have to isolate or are unable to work due to COVID.
  5. All frontline workers to have unlimited access to counselling services during this pandemic in recognition of the mental stress working with COVID brings to this workforce.
  6. If staff have to work from home due to fact their children are sent home from their school due to COVID then they should remain on full pay.
  7. All COVID related absences whilst recorded should not be used for sickness absence recording.
  8. Any staff having to make emergency visits abroad to visit a dying relative or attend a funeral should receive full pay during the quarantine period.

COVID Plus for home workers.

  1. All staff who are deemed clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable to stay at home for lockdown on full pay.
  2. All workers to have unlimited access to counselling services during this pandemic in recognition of the mental stress working with COVID brings to this workforce.

 

  1. If staff have to work from home due to fact their children are sent home from their school due to COVID then they should remain on full pay and it should be recognised that the worker has a reduced capacity to carry out their work duties.
  2. All COVID related absences whilst recorded should not be used for sickness absence recording.
  3. Any staff having to make emergency visits abroad to visit a dying relative or attend a funeral should receive full pay during the quarantine period.
  4. To recognise the damaging effect working from home has on both physical activity levels and mental health. Also to recognise that the normal practice of leaving home to travel to and from work also of travelling between venues for meetings are now lost to the home worker leading to a more compressed working routine with little opportunity to leave the home. Therefore give a one hour paid daily break to home working staff in addition to their lunch break to enable them to have down time from their computer screens and so that they can physically leave their home for a walk or partake in some form of exercise.
  5. Protocol for structuring virtual meetings to enable time away from the screen e.g. starting meetings at quarter past the hour implying that there should be a 15min break before the meeting starts.
  6. Supervision to incorporate questions relating to mental health wellbeing and physical health as well as checking on the home set up (it should not be assumed home set up is constantly the same).
  7. For a designated person to randomly contact 10 workers per week to find out from them their experience with respect to supervision, welfare checks etc.
  8. Staff with children at home should be given a designated amount of time to dedicate to their child’s learning and leisure.
  9. Key workers working from home who have a clinically or extremely clinically vulnerable child should be allowed to continue working from home if schools are closed but only open to key worker’s children.

Stay safe

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary

Barnet UNISON.

Our fight to end low pay

There is definitely a mood in the air here in Barnet.

 I can’t put my finger on it but it is there.

 In the last few weeks our reps have been going into workplaces and recruiting both members and reps in services where staff have been working throughout COVID, services such as care homes, waste and recycling, street cleansing, housing repairs and gas services, parking enforcement and passenger transport to name but a few.

One of the major issues is that they are all low paid workers and they quite rightly feel they are not being paid enough, especially when you consider they have worked on throughout all the restraints caused by the virus.

For the past six months these workers have been directed into the COVID workplace by senior managers all working from the comfort of their homes.

Being able to work from is not an option for these workers.

While senior management are saving money on transport costs because they can work from home these workers are paying the rising costs of public transport to get to their workplaces.

 Today was no exception. We met a group of workers in the Repairs and Gas Service who had recently TUPED into the Barnet Group from Mears. There were many serious issues raised, all of which can and must be dealt with by our union.

 What was great about the meeting was that this previously un-unionised workforce quickly grasped the importance of union membership in the workplace. Not only have they already begun to recruit the whole of the service, they have understood the need to have local reps and we recruited two union reps and one Health and Safety rep.

I never get tired of working with members and today reminded me of what we can do if we have the confidence and support of the workforce.

Today is but the beginning I sense things are going to get interesting here in Barnet over the next six to nine months.

 Solidarity

John Burgess

Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

Government attacking on our Pension and Redundancy Payments

The Westminster Government has pushed through parliament final regulations that will enact the absolute cap of £95,000 on all exit payments in the public sector.

This means that any exit payment made after the implementation date (anticipated to be on, or soon after 26th October) will be affected.

UNISON are campaigning to demonstrate the severe impact the changes would have on various different types of local government workers.

Read National UNISON update 6 October 2020

http://msgfocus.com/files/amf_unison/project_131/LG_60_2020_-_URGENT_update_on_the_95_000_Cap_on_Public_Sector_Exit_Payments.pdf

 

The consultation closes 9 November 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reforming-local-government-exit-pay

 What next?

In order to alert UNISON members to the seriousness of these attacks UNISON have provided 6 hypothetical worked examples below. (N.B. where the examples below talk about being a ‘member’ this means pension membership not UNISON membership).

 

Examples:

Individual 1: is 59 years old. Member for 19 years and is currently paid a salary of £29,000 per annum. She broadly fits the profile of the average member. Her new redundancy package does not contain a cash payment on top, as her pension strain is larger than the combined SRP and DSP. Member benefits are not affected by the £95,000 cap but are reduced under proposed reforms as SRP and DSP are no longer paid in excess to pension strain. Under the proposed reforms, benefits on redundancy are reduced by around 37%.

  • Individual 2: is 55 years old and has been a member for 25 years. He is paid a salary of £80,000 per annum. His relatively young age means that he receives a high pension strain. Benefits are reduced under proposed reforms as SRP and DSP are no longer paid in excess to pension strain and pension stain is capped at £95,000. His new redundancy benefits are £95,000, as his pension strain is already over £95,000. Under the proposed reforms, benefits on redundancy are reduced by around 61%.
  • Individual 3: is 61 years old. He has been a member for 31 years and is currently paid a salary of £41,000 per annum. Member is entitled to a cash payment as the DSP the member would have been entitled to is higher than pension strain (net of SRP). Member benefits are not affected by the £95,000 cap but are reduced under proposed reforms as full SRP and DSP are no longer paid in excess to pension strain. His redundancy benefits are reduced by 38%.
  • Individual 4: is 65 years old. She has been a member 7 years and is currently paid a salary of £20,000 per annum. Member is entitled to a cash top up as pension strain is less than SRP, and DSP the member would have been entitled to is greater than strain (net of SRP). Member benefits are not affected by the £95,000 cap but are reduced under proposed reforms as full SRP and DSP are no longer paid in excess to pension strain. Under the proposed reforms, benefits on redundancy are reduced by around 25%.
  • Individual 5: is 60 years old. She has been a member for 4 years and is currently paid a salary of £35,000 per annum. Her new redundancy package does not contain a cash payment element as her pension strain is larger than the combined SRP and DSP. Member benefits are not affected by the £95,000 cap but are reduced under proposed reforms as full SRP and DSP are no longer paid in excess to pension strain. Under the proposed reforms, benefits on redundancy are reduced by around 29%.
  • Individual 6: is 67 years old and has been a member 23 years. She is currently paid a salary of £34,000 per annum. Her age and service history mean that there is no pension strain. The member is not affected by the £95,000 cap. Her redundancy package will be unchanged and will consist entirely of the cash payment which is equal to her original SRP plus DSP.

What can you do?

If you have any questions and concerns please email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Bin worker Update 4: Victory for our members

“I am pleased to report that Barnet Council have dropped the proposed change to our members’ contracts.

The Council responded that they had listened to the views from Barnet UNISON and the views of our members in a face to face meeting which took place in the depot several weeks ago.

This is a massive result for our Bin workers.

It is the second time that we have balloted in a 12 month period and it is the second time they have delivered a solid vote for strike action.

The message is very clear for all workers facing attacks from employers – join a union and get involved in the union.

The union provides the opportunity to fight back.

I am really proud that our Barnet UNISON members can hold their heads up high along with Tower Hamlets UNISON members, SOAS UNISON members, and UNISON members who work for Wigan-Council commissioned drug and alcohol rehabilitation service ‘We Are With You’ who are currently taking 10 days strike action.

All of these UNISON members have stood together and voted to fight back.”

John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

 End.

Breaking News: Bin workers Trade Dispute meeting with Barnet Council update 1

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/09/18/breaking-news-bin-workers-trade-dispute-meeting-with-barnet-council/

Barnet Bin workers dispute update 2

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/09/19/barnet-bin-workers-dispute-update/

Barnet Bin workers Update 3

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/09/21/barnet-bin-workers-update-3/

Barnet Bin workers Update 3

Barnet Council depot, Bittacy Hill, Mill Hill.Unison members on strike.02/11/15

Today Barnet UNISON and GMB met with senior management to discuss the proposed changes to Bin workers’ contracts.

At this meeting senior management responded to say that after meeting with the workforce and listening to their views about the proposal they needed to go back to the Corporate Management Team.

Management said they would be responding back to the trade unions with a date for a new meeting by close of play today or tomorrow.

I registered my disappointment that management had not come to this meeting with a response as our members were waiting to hear the outcome of this meeting today. I made it clear that I did not want the added stress and pressure hanging over the workforce any longer.

Look out tomorrow for further details from Barnet UNISON.

John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

End.

Notes to Editors

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

Background links:

Breaking News: Bin workers Trade Dispute meeting with Barnet Council update 1

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/09/18/breaking-news-bin-workers-trade-dispute-meeting-with-barnet-council/

Barnet Bin workers dispute update 2

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/09/19/barnet-bin-workers-dispute-update/

 

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

 

 

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