“Conscious Brutality”

These are the words Ken Loach uses to describe the proposed cuts to our last 2 Welfare Rights Advisors.

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2017/05/04/ken-loach-on-proposed-sacking-of-welfare-rights-advisors/

Shockingly this proposed cut is not about saving money! One of the biggest user groups of the service are those with Mental Health problems.

Of course it’s great that famous people are joining in to break the taboo of talking about Mental ill-health but what is the point if we just then kick these people in the face by removing access to an important service!

In-house, out-house? The Fate of Street Scene

No 2 Outsourcing

Barnet UNISON welcomes the proposal going to the Environment Committee Thursday 11th May at 6.30pm:

“That Environment Committee approves option E as set out in section 1.15 to 1.29 for the Street Scene Delivery Unit services including; recycling and waste, street cleansing, and green spaces maintenance (Lots 1-3) to revert to a full In–House service

That Environment Committee note and agree to the timescale, to revert to a full In–House service as set out in section 1.27, and agree that the Streetscene ADM project has concluded and that an implementation project will now commence”

Please join us in Hendon Town Hall on this historic occasion of watching an in-house model being proposed to our local councillors.

URGENT UPDATE “SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE” Update Welfare Rights

As a result of consultation we have now learnt that the two welfare rights advisor workers are not being sacked in order to make CUTS, they are being sacked because vulnerable families will get a better service without them!

Before I address the issue of why it is so wrong to sack the Welfare Rights workers I want to highlight this scene in Ken Loach’s BAFTA Award winning film “I, Daniel Blake”

This scene shows the daily humiliating life experiences people in need are facing.

I’m referring to this scene, because the Barnet Council proposal is to move away from helping to sign posting. It sounds good in the highly paid consultancy circle world. BUT the grim reality this is not just a cut for two workers it is a cruel cut that will deny access to the vital information, advocacy and support for the most vulnerable families in Barnet.

Before Barnet UNISON found out that this was NOT a financial saving, we would have referred the Council back to the uncontrollable Agency/consultancy worker costs which have gone from a round £7.3 million in 2012 to 19.8 million by March 2017.

“Why will this proposal cause hard to vulnerable families?”

In the past seven years there have been many changes in the way Advice in the London Borough of Barnet has been delivered.

The following organisations have either closed down or no longer do Welfare Rights Advice.

  1. Welfare Rights Unit (Barnet Council)
  2. Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has closed five of their offices (a) Avenue House (b) Grahame Park (c) Finchley (d) Edgware Hospital (e) Dollis Valley hub. Currently, the New Barnet Office is only open on Mondays morning and is due to totally shut in October 2017. The only remaining CAB is the Hendon one which is also only opened three days a weeks
  3. CAB also used to operate a home visiting service which has also ceased.
  4. Barnet Law Service (Dealt with Welfare Rights Appeals)
  5. Mary Ward Legal Services (Dealt with Welfare Rights Appeals)
  6. East Barnet Advice Services
  7. Disability Action in the Borough of Barnet
  8. Mencap (substantially reduced service since 2013) This service refer to the two Welfare Rights workers for Appeals and complex cases
  9. Jewish Deaf Association Barnet (substantially reduce services now drop in sessions only on Tuesdays morning  for  people with hearing impairment)
  10. Mind Barnet
  11. Due to the Legal Aid cuts no Solicitors in Barnet do Welfare Rights Appeals

The two Welfare Rights workers are the only service that still provides comprehensive/ impartial benefits Advice up to Appeals level in Barnet. Both statutory and non-statutory organisations refer to the two workers. 

In consultation it has been put to Barnet UNISON that the service could be picked up by other organisations. What is clear is that the report does not appear to know what is being provided out there in our community.

Below are some of the organisation mentioned who could pick up the work left as a result of sacking the two welfare rights workers.

  1. Welfare Rights Task Force – Benefit Advisors only support clients affected by the benefit CAP and assist them with income and expenditure in order for them to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment
  2. Employment Advisors do not specialise on welfare benefits, their remit is employment
  3. Shelter specialise in Housing and debts. They do not provide Welfare Rights Advice
  4. DWP is unable to help the majority of our clients as there may be a conflict of interest. We support client in taking cases to the Tribunal against DWP. There would be a conflict of interest, should the DWP provide welfare benefits advice. Welfare Benefit Advice exists to ensure that clients are made aware of their legal rights and represented in the event of disputes and maladministration of benefits.

Next actions:  

Barnet UNISON on Tuesday 9 May at the Family Services JNCC declared a ‘failure to agree’ in response to the proposed sacking of the two welfare rights workers.

The matter has now been escalated to a meeting chaired by the Chief Executive.

If the proposal to sack the workers is not withdrawn the matter will be raised at General Functions Committee on 28 June where we will address the Leader of the Council.

Links:

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2017/05/04/simply-unbelievable-update-welfare-rights/

 

 

 

 

Don’t outsource ‘top 2 rated council services’ say Barnet UNISON

“No 2 Outsourcing”

“Resident Satisfaction – Refuse and recycling remain the top 2 rated council services based on the latest Residents’ Perception Survey data from spring 2016. Recycling is at 73% saying the service is “good/excellent” – this is 6.8% above the London average. Refuse is at 77% saying “good/excellent”, 8.2% above the London average.”

(https://www.barnet.gov.uk/dam/jcr:ec335e0f-35ed-43fc-a6c9-1f30f1c2b844/Streetscene-Performance-Report-Q1-2016-17.pdf)

Those are not the words of Barnet UNISON but data on Barnet Council web site.

The ‘top 2 rated council services’ they say.

On Wednesday 15 March 2017, at 6.30 pm Barnet Council Environment Committee will decide whether to either back their own loyal hard working staff or outsource them to another employer.

Barnet UNISON has been clear from the start that Street Scene services should and must stay in-house.

If the residents rate these services, and the senior officers who produce the data confirming this is true, then how could it be possible to outsource these services?

We won’t know until the report to be considered by Barnet Councillors will be published here five working days before the meeting.

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=695&MId=8593&Ver=4

I will be attending this meeting which is open to the public.

 

Barnet UNISON Press Release: Ken Loach comes to Barnet screening of ‘I, Daniel Blake’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Special screening of BAFTA winning ‘I, Daniel Blake’ with a Q & A Ken Loach. 28 February 2017

27 February 2017 

‘Hunger is being used as a weapon,’ says veteran director, calling for public rage over situation he says is worse than when he made Cathy Come Home in 1966” (Ken Loach)

“2.8 MILLION disabled people are in deep poverty (< 50% of median income).Source: New Policy Institute

“Austerity has been targeted at disabled people nine times more than the general population and severely disabled people have been targeted 19 times more than the general population.” Source: Centre for Welfare Reform

“After the 2016 Budget, the Office for Budget Responsibility found that, ‘the government is on track by 2020-21 to spend the lowest amount on welfare, as a percentage of GDP, in 30 years.’ Source: BBC

“90,000 disabled people will lose their mobility cars under welfare reform.” Source Fullfact.org

Barnet UNISON branch is proud to be able to host this special event which is being supported by the following community campaigns: Barnet Trades Council, Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Housing Action Barnet, Our West Hendon campaign, Barnet Momentum.

“This film is quite rightly being recognised as a urgent wake up call for all of us. Austerity has delivered brutal cuts to our much loved public services and is hastening the break-up of the NHS. Some political commentators pedal the view that employment is up, but at the same time they conveniently neglect to mention that employment rights are being destroyed through the casualisation of the workforce such a zero hours contracts, and home carers are often not paid for travelling time to clients. I hope all of our members and Barnet residents find time to watch this film. We need everyone to get active in their communities and join the call for the end of Austerity.” John Burgess Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON.

The film is being screened at the iconic community Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley on Tuesday 28 February 2017. A  short Q & A will take place with Ken Loach and Paula Peters from DPAC interviewed by Aditya Chakrabortty, the senior economics commentator for the Guardian.

See attached flyer for details.

Notes to Editors.

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

DPAC http://dpac.uk.net/

Ken Loach http://www.sixteenfilms.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love UNIONS; Join Barnet UNISON “there’s a lot going on!”

As part of 8‑14 Feb 2017 Heartunions week of action

Barnet UNISON is publishing our calendar of action we have organised for our members and the community we serve.

A big thanks to all of our UNISON reps, officers and our admin for all the work they have done and continue to do for our members.

20 February “1 Day Without Us”

“We want to demonstrate our solidarity for our migrant colleagues”

“By wearing a purple or green ribbon. You can also just wear something green or purple.”

“By taking solidarity selfies of you and your workmates on 20th February”

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017.02.02-One-day-without-us-flyer.pdf #20Feb #1DayWithoutUs #BarnetUNISON

 

25 February “Sing Your Heart out 4 NHS”

“Join Barnet UNISON members and our fantastic Barnet residents in a musical message of solidarity for the NHS.”

We can now see what six years of austerity policies has had on the NHS which only recently was described by the Red Cross as a “humanitarian crisis”.

“Listen to Yannis Gourtsoyannis one of the Junior Doctors strikers talk first-hand about the NHS crisis”

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2017.01.09-Rock-Against-Austerity-flyer-1.pdf #NHS #BarnetUNISON

 

28 February “I Daniel Blake” – Phoenix Cinema – East Finchley

“We are absolutely delighted that our long-time supporter Ken Loach has agreed to join a Q & A with DPAC’s Paula Peters, who will be interviewed by Aditya Chakraborrty senior economics commentator for the Guardian.”

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/barnet_idanielblake_28Feb2017_A4_poster.pdf

#IDanielBlake #BarnetUNISON

 

4 March – National “Save Our NHS” demo – Barnet UNISON

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2017/01/25/barnet-unison-supports-nhs-workers-join-us-4marchnhs/ #NHS #BarnetUNISON

 

7 March Barnet UNISON AGM – Fighting Apartheid to Fighting Austerity  

“I am deeply honoured to have as our grassroots speaker Paul Joseph. Paul born in South Africa, became a political activist in the anti-apartheid movement working closely with Nelson Mandela with whom he was good friends. We are all facing deeply troubling times both in the workplace and our homes and our communities. I strongly recommend our members to make time to attend our AGM and listen to Paul tell his story. Hopefully he will be able to give us some advice as to what we all can do and remain positive in these troubling times.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2017/02/03/7-march-barnet-unison-agm-fighting-apartheid-to-fighting-austerity/

#PaulJoseph #Mandela #BarnetUNISON

 

18 March – United Nations “Stand Up to Racism” demo Barnet UNISON

Join the Barnet UNISON banner on what is becoming a seminal demonstration in wake of recent events across the globe.

http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/national-demo-refugees-migrants-welcome-stand-racism-islamophobia-anti-semitism/ #StandUptoRacism #BarnetUNISON

 

Saturday 25 March “Join the Durham Teaching Assistants in Durham”

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2017/02/03/saturday-25-march-join-the-durham-teaching-assistants-in-durham/

#ValueUs #FightingBack #BarnetUNISON

Unified Pay: “Myths & Updates” – School staff please read

 

Unified Pay Update

New contracts

Last term Barnet Council employees received their new contracts. Most staff had no issues so they signed their contract. There were a smaller group of workers who had issues. For these staff UNISON advised that they did not need to sign until the appeal/issue had been resolved. In some cases some staff signed even though they had an outstanding issue. In which case once their appeal was resolved they received an updated contract.  It is important that members keep a copy of their new contracts somewhere secure.

School staff:

I have been informed that Barnet Council are about to issue new contracts for all their employees (excluding teachers) in schools

It is really important that if UNISON members do have any issues or concerns they contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

On Monday and Tuesday we have Louis Smyth specifically to deal with UNISON school member issues and Nadia Joseph on Wednesday.

Myth

“If I don’t sign the contract I will be made redundant”

No, no no. This is not correct. If you feel any pressure or are uncertain what to do then please contact your local rep or the unison office.

Sick Pay Scheme

In the new contract there is mention of a potential change which could see some staff having pay deducted if they are off sick. It is important to note that this is an ‘if.’ UNISON are already in negotiations about a new sickness policy, until we have reached an agreement the current sickness scheme is in place. It is worth noting that the original Council proposals was to withdraw from the current sick pay scheme for example end the 6 months full pay, 6 months half pay if you were seriously ill

Nursery Nurse group appeal

In the negotiations with the council there was an agreement that discussion about the 3.4% would continue after implementation. I can report that I am in the process of putting together an appeal for the Nursery Nurses with the support of some of our members. A meeting whereby I will be giving feedback on what I am proposing is being held

52 Week Teaching Assistants group appeal

I am meeting with the Council negotiating team to discuss a proposal which I hope I will be able to discuss with members shortly.

Individual Appeals

I have a list of members who have individual appeals. It is very important that members provide the UNISON office with all documentation, and arrange for a 1:1 meeting with me in order that I can best able to provide you with support. I have been supporting non schools members for the last five months and this process has worked well.

*** If you have sent in an appeal and have not notified UNISON, we will not be able to help. It is very important that you notify the branch if you want the support.

Stage 1 appeals

These meetings are not meant to be stressful for members. They an opportunity for a discussion with the employer, employee and their UNISON rep. In the many other Stage 1 meetings for non-school staff, management have been very supportive of any of their staff who are facing a loss in pay. I have found that the approach taken for non-schools staff has been largely positive for staff. The solution to the loss in pay can often be resolved by exploring a number of different approaches.

I would hope that UNISON members working in schools would expect that they should have the same treatment.

This is why when UNISON members working in schools contact the branch for support, they will be offered a 1:1 meeting with me. I need to listen and then advise, before we go into the Stage 1 meeting.

Faith schools

A number of faith schools are adopting Unified Pay collective agreement. It is important that members make sure they keep our office informed if they have any issues or concerns.

It is really important that if UNISON members do have any issues or concerns they contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

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