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

 

 

All Care Workers Now To Receive Full Sick Pay For COVID19

 

If you are a care worker you will shortly be receiving this email from us (if we have your email address). If you are the friend or know someone who is a care worker or support worker – let them know about this and encourage them to join UNISON!

Dear Colleague,

The Government has given funding to local authorities to ensure that you will be paid as if you were working normally if you go off sick with suspected COVID19 or have to isolate because you came into close contact with someone who has COVID19. London Borough of Barnet has been allocated £3,564,514

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5ec2717de90e071e30d09844/allocation-table-for-the-infection-control-fund-for-adult-social-.pdf. This is for infection control purposes.

 

Government guidance is clear that this funding should be used to pay the “normal wages” of social care workers that are absent due to COVID-19 as a measure to help reduce transmissions, so they do not feel pressured into going into work out of financial necessity.  Its intention is also to top up the wages of those doing shifts at several care homes by encouraging them to reduce the number of workplaces they visit.

Since the news of this funding was made we have been writing to the local authority trying to gain an assurance this money will make its way into your pockets should you need it. Some companies, such as YCB (Your Choice Barnet) have already been paying colleagues their full salary whilst they’ve been isolating but far too many have not made this commitment. This is unfair and dangerous.

Today we received confirmation that the local authority has passed this money on to the care providers in Barnet. There should now be no excuse for you not getting the pay you need to stay away from work when you need to. We are in the process of writing to all care providers – starting with those where we have members – asking them these questions:

Wages and Sick Pay arrangements

  • Can you please confirm what your sick pay/ pay arrangements to cover periods of isolation are for those workers you employ?
  • Can you confirm whether you employ workers on zero hours contracts and how these would be affected by your sick pay/ isolation pay arrangements?
  • Can you confirm how you will identify the workers who would need a top up?
  • Can you confirm whether your basic minimum hourly rate of pay is above, below or at the London Living Wage (£10.75/hr)

PPE

  • Can you confirm what PPE you have in place and in what circumstances this is used?
  • Can you confirm what training you have in place regarding the correct use of PPE?

I want to thank all of you for the contributions you have made, not just in terms of going to work during this difficult time, but for speaking to us about the issues you are facing. To be honest we should not have to be working so hard to get these changes – it should be understood as obvious. Yet without your feedback absolutely nothing would have changed. Trade Union organisation has helped us organise this feedback and delivered it to the right places. Many of your colleagues are not members of a trade union – imagine how much more we could achieve if we had more members. Even better if we had reps who could be that vital link between you and your colleagues in workplace and the branch. It would help you overcome that sense of isolation and help you network with more people. Please recruit your colleagues, keep the feedback going and think about becoming a rep.

We will keep you updated with the responses of the employers as they come back to us.

Thanks

Helen Davies

Branch Chair

Barnet UNISON

1 2 3 18