17 Level 3 TAs face the sack in one Barnet School

I was not looking forward to this consultation meeting. The look of devastation on the faces of mainly low paid female workers was for all to see.

Each worker spoke with passion about the work they do and what they felt was betrayal for all the hard work they have put into the school for years.

I was able to sit and listen to them tell me about what they do. It was clear they cared deeply about the children they support. They expressed disbelief that the restructure proposals will even work.

I left the meeting not deflated but recharged with energy to try to do as much as I can for them.

This is my second redundancy meeting in a week and it’s hitting low paid workers again.

If this week is an indicator of life for workers under Boris Johnson then we should all be worried

More later….

 

It’s Your Wages. This is what we are doing.

On Wednesday 15th January 2020 UNISON lodged collective grievances against 52 Barnet Schools to ensure we protect claims on behalf of all of over 500 UNISON members working in those schools.

Three things that need to be done for YOU.

  1. The way your employer calculates YOUR Pay needs to be changed in order that you are paid correctly.
  2. You have been underpaid for years. These are your wages that you have worked for and it is your right that your employer should pay you correctly.
  3. If you are in the Pension Scheme your Pension is wrong and you need to be compensated.

IMPORTANT ADVICE:

Barnet UNISON has an organiser called Nadia who will be contacting you to set up a meeting to explain what happens next.

If you want to speak to Nadia please contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Term Time Pay Update Meeting

On Tuesday 25 February 2020 5.15 pm, Barnet House, 1255 High Road, Whetstone N20 0EJ after the Barnet UNISON Annual General Meeting there will be an update for all of our members on the claim.

Please come along.

Poverty Pay For Barnet Care Workers set to continue…………

Monday 6th January 2020 should have brought good news for ex Fremantle care workers now employed by The Barnet Group (TBG).

Barnet UNISON had expected to hear that care workers would be moved onto the London Living Wage at Policy and Resources Committee on Monday 6th January 2020

https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=692&MId=10084

Instead the decision was kicked into the long grass.

This decision has ensured care workers remain on poverty pay.

TUPE information from Fremantle in May/ June 2019 revealed that just under 300 staff were TUPE transferred.

Of these, according to the figures given for the job titles and the rates of pay quoted for those job titles, some two thirds were listed as being paid below the London Living Wage.

Care work is a physically demanding role as well as an emotionally demanding role.

There are at least 201 Care workers on poverty pay

Yet according to the TUPE transfer information

161 members of staff are aged 55 years and over.

40 are aged 66 years and over.

Notes for Editors:

TBG is 100% owned by Barnet Council.

Barnet Council does not employ any staff paid less than the London Living Wage.

Merry Christmas? Not a chance! Redundancies on the horizon

The last big outsourcing took place in April 2016.

Education and Catering Services were outsourced to Mott MacDonald who transferred the services to Cambridge Education. Cambridge Education sub-contracted Catering Services to global giant ISS.

At the time of the award of the contract it was very clear that the Council was moving all of its staff, who would need a café based inside, to the new £50 plus million building in Colindale.

What happened next is yet another example of how you lose all control by outsourcing.

For some reason Barnet Council said it did not want the same service it had in the Atrium and wanted to hand it over to a franchise……Costa Coffee. ISS was to sort out the franchise and run a Costa Coffee inside the new Colindale office.

Who or why this was agreed we don’t know – it’s important to note there are loads of Costa Coffee shops around Colindale.

All our members were told by ISS that they would receive Costa Coffee training in readiness for the move to Colindale in June 2019.

That’s right, June 2019.

Then it all went quiet, staff started moving and the ‘white elephant’ – the lack of a café – became more apparent as the building started to fill up.

‘It would all be ready after the summer.’

No, it wasn’t, and the news was worse.

ISS was not going to provide a service.

Barnet UNISON said “let’s run an in-house service”. 

We were ignored.

Barnet Council went out to find a contractor to run a café in the Colindale office.

Bad news for our members

Barnet Council has failed to secure a contractor to run a café in Colindale office. We have been told that the Council is going back out to see if it can secure a contractor but time is running out. The Atrium service will close March 2020. This will give very little time to find another employer and then TUPE transfer staff to the new employer.

Yesterday Barnet UNISON had the unpleasant task of speaking to all of our members in the Atrium café in North London Business Park (also known as the staff canteen) to alert them to the very real risk of redundancy due to this news.

Outsourcing v In-House

Outsourcing has failed our low paid members and it has failed the staff who work in Colindale. The importance of a staff canteen is that it provides a space away from your desk to de-stress and meet up with work colleagues. It’s a space that helps promote mental health and wellbeing.

Barnet UNISON has formally written to Cambridge Education to hold ISS to the contract and ask them to provide a café service in NLBP.

What we do know is that if Catering had remained in-house there would already be a café in Colindale, just as it was ready when all the staff finally moved to North London Business Park.

Solidarity for our UNISON Atrium members.

More on this later in 2020.

End.

 

 

 

Don’t blame the Barnet bin workers: You couldn’t make it up.

This time last year we were in the fourth week of the Bin Collection changes. Barnet UNISON bin workers already knew that the changes would not work. But it had been made very clear that the views of the workforce were not seen as important to the successful delivery of the service.

How wrong was that?

By Christmas 2018 the collection was in chaos as this is one of the busiest times of the year for Bin collections.

UNISON suggested a way out but we were ignored.

In 2019 bin workers were scratching their heads wondering where all the money was coming from to pay the ever growing army of agency workers. A service that started at 6 am and finished by 2pm was now running up until 11 pm at night.

But every time UNISON asked about the rounds we were told it’s just “teething problems” and “things will soon be sorted.”

In 2019, at various Council Committees, councillors started to try to get a grip of what was going on as the agency spend continued to climb and fall then climb again. Sitting in the stalls listening to officers and councillors was something to behold, hardly anything discussed seemed to reflect what our bin worker members were telling UNISON.

After years of representing workers in Barnet Council UNISON is used to being ignored but in the case of the bin service it was still astounding that no one seemed to be able to sort out what was all so apparent to the bin workers.

Then we had the “sliding depot” or the “crack” as it was called in the depot. UNISON watched in bewilderment as the crack got longer, wider and deeper. The road was so bad the vehicles had to drive really really slowly just in case they tipped over.

Obviously someone in the summer managed to convince the Council that there was a serious Health and Safety risk and that the idea of part of the depot sliding down on to Oakleigh Road South was suddenly unpalatable.

Missed opportunity.

Here was an opportunity for the Council to put things right for Barnet residents. The depot is severely constrained by having half of it cordoned off for major building works that were bound to impact on the bin collection service.

“Here was an opportunity for Bin Collection change 2.0”

UNISON bin workers would say “Tear up the crazy area collection proposals” and organise meetings with the bin worker drivers who know the borough streets intimately to help sort out bin collection routes that will work.

UNISON seized on this opportunity to help; after all there was new management in after the departure of two senior managers. We hoped for a change. We said we would help get drivers to help sort the mess out.

What happened?

More of the same. The recent changes to the bin collection service that have moved some rounds to a Saturday took place without consultation with drivers. Early feedback from our members is that things are not going as well as hoped and still the spend on agency continues.

Last week UNISON heard that staff were being pulled for not completing rounds.

Barnet UNISON has made it clear to the Council that they will countenance no blame on our members for being unable to make something that is fundamentally flawed work well for residents.

You couldn’t make this up but it is true.

With all the changes of managers and a depot that is falling apart our amazingly loyal bin workers on whom we all rely, still come into to do a difficult dirty job on low pay.

Don’t blame them for the changes – those decisions were made by others.

Barnet Care workers update: London Living Wage decision delayed due to General Election

Update: Due to the General Election being on 12th December the Committee which was to discuss a report about Barnet Group care workers receiving the London Living Wage is now postponed from 10th December to 6th January.

 

Good news is that London Living Wage is set to rise to £10.75/ hr next year!

 

Please tell everyone at work and your family and friends about the change in date.

 

Barnet UNISON is calling for a Happy New Year for all our Barnet Care Workers!

Everyone to Hendon Town Hall

Monday 6th January 2020, for 7 pm start.

 

You can view the latest Barnet Care workers flyer by clicking on link below

2019.11.12 Care workers updated date to 6th Jan

Barnet Council: The London and the Barnet Living Wage story continues……..

Barnet UNISON has launched a campaign for the London Living Wage for care workers who were recently transferred from Fremantle Trust to The Barnet Group (TBG). TBG is 100% owned by Barnet Council.

What does Barnet Council have to say on the matter?

Barnet Living Wage

3.15. The Council has developed a fair pay policy to ensure that it applies a minimum wage for Council employees. “London Borough of Barnet is a fair pay employer and will apply the principles of a living wage (including taking into account the National Minimum Wage, National Living Wage, London Living Wage and national pay awards in the public sector), subject to affordability.”

3.16. Employees whose pay rate is less than the agreed amount will receive a pay supplement to bring their pay up to an equivalent of the published Barnet Living Wage rate. The minimum rate will be reviewed on an annual basis. The exception to this rule will be apprenticeships where the national apprenticeship rates will apply at a minimum.

(Source: https://bit.ly/2BEKVx4 )

Negotiations

Several years ago Barnet UNISON reached an agreement with Barnet Council that no Council employee would earn less than the London Living Wage (LLW). However the agreement refers to the Barnet Living Wage (BLW) as Barnet Council wanted to make a point of paying slightly more than the London Living Wage.

In 2018 the London Living Wage was £10.20 and the Barnet Living Wage was £10.42.

In 2019 the London Living Wage was £10.55 and the Barnet Living Wage is £10.70 (Bottom of Grade A).

Not enough

Whilst this was a good agreement for our members working for Barnet Council workers it did not provide security for those workers facing outsourcing under the One Barnet Programme. This led to further negotiations and subsequent agreement with Barnet Council that any contractor taking over any Council services could not pay their staff less that the London Living Wage. The effect of this agreement was apparent when our catering staff members were transferred to ISS. Earlier this year our members contacted Barnet UNISON when their pay did not go up to the new rate. Our branch immediately contacted both ISS and the Council which led to an immediate climb down and our members were put on the correct pay.

What about other outsourced contracts?

Our branch had been trying to get our cleaners on to the LLW for years. These had been outsourced 15 years ago. Earlier this year we were pleased to inform our cleaners in UNISON that the Council had inserted the LLW into the new contract which was awarded early in the year. At last our cleaners are on the LLW.

Barnet care workers.

During the summer almost 300 care staff transferred from Fremantle Trust to The Barnet Group (TBG). TBG is 100% owned by Barnet Council.

Three weeks ago Barnet UNISON launched its latest campaign for the London Living Wage for the care workers.

On Tuesday 10 December at Barnet Council Policy and Resources Committee will make a decision whether to ensure Barnet care workers will get equal treatment and are paid the London Living Wage.

We are asking for a big solidarity call out for our care workers from Barnet UNISON members, trade union members, and supporters.

Join us outside Hendon Town Hall from 6.30 Tuesday 10 December 2019.

 

End.

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