93 care workers sacked during a national shortage of care workers

What does it say about our society when 93 care workers are sacked and barely a mention is made in the media or by politicians?

This week consultation closed on the decision to sack 93 care workers.

Barnet UNISON has submitted our report into the shocking sacking of 93 care workers in what has been a shameful consultation.

To understand our anger and sadness at what has happened I encourage readers to read our report which is online here  or Barnet UNISON Response to Apthorp Consultation 22.10.21 FINAL

 

“Throughout the negotiation it emerged that the decision to vacate Apthorp had been taken by Barnet Council with no consultation with any other stakeholder other than Your Choice Barnet (YCB). The rationale for this has been stated over and over but the information underpinning this decision has been withheld. This has limited the trade union engagement to one of simply negotiating the redundancies rather than avoiding them. Consequently we have unanswered questions and we dispute the view that this discussion is not relevant to the trade unions.

The decisions around Apthorp directly affect the staff who are trade union members. Furthermore there is the potential for a significant knock-on effect in terms of the budget. As a result Barnet UNISON has been denied the opportunity to consider alternatives which may have ended up being less costly both on a financial and a humane level than the only option presented.” (An extract from the report)

 

What is deeply troubling is that this happened in the week of the CQC report “The State of Care”

https://www.cqc.org.uk/publications/major-report/state-care

Some of the headlines in the report are below.

  • “The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says health and care staff are “exhausted and depleted” and working under intense levels of pressure.
  • Urgent action is needed to stop a “tsunami of unmet need” rippling across essential services this winter, the care regulator has warned.
  • Desperately needed social care staff are quitting their jobs to work in the tourism and hospitality sector because they are ‘burnt out’, the sector has warned.
  • Exhausted staff are leaving the key worker roles to fill shortages in other sectors, as pubs and restaurants struggle to find enough staff.

https://www.itv.com/news/2021-10-22/burnt-out-and-exhausted-social-care-staff-quit-to-fill-hospitality-shortage

 

“We have Covid infection levels increasing daily, an overworked and under resourced NHS staff, a deliberate lack of action/leadership by this government and lack of leadership from the political opposition in Parliament and a negligent national media, it looks like we are sleep walking into a health and social care crisis of biblical proportions. We will continue to do what we always do for Barnet UNISON members which is providing public support and standing side by side with them whatever is happening to them.”

(John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.)

 

End:

 

Background to the Save Apthorp campaign 

1.Update: 93 Covid heroes face the sack

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/23/80-covid-heroes-face-the-sack/

2. Barnet UNISON request the right to speak on behalf of 93 Covid Heroes

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/26/barnet-unison-request-the-right-to-speak-on-behalf-of-93-covid-heroes/

3. What happened to the 11 Barnet Council Care Homes and day centres in 1999?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/26/what-happened-to-the-11-barnet-council-care-homes-and-day-centres-in-1999/

4. What is going on, just who owns Apthorp care home?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/03/what-is-going-on-just-who-owns-apthorp-care-home/

5. Update on Apthorp consultation: Save Apthorp

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/03/update-on-apthorp-consultation-save-apthorp/

6. Join our We Are Barnet Save Apthorp lobby in person and online

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/08/join-our-we-are-barnet-save-apthorp-lobby-in-person-and-online/

7. A Tale of Two Priorities

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/09/a-tale-of-two-priorities/

8. Is Apthorp care setting closing or not?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/09/is-apthorp-care-setting-closing-or-not/

9.Going, going gone, sold to…….what is going on at Apthorp?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/27/going-going-gone-sold-to-what-is-going-on-at-apthorp/

End.

 

 

National Pay, Unified Reward, We Are Barnet “levelling up” negotiations 2 November update

Tuesday 2 November 6- 7 pm

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81712515827?pwd=dituZHZRSWE5VW9ETDdkb0QwWTVFdz09

Meeting ID: 817 1251 5827

Passcode: 641084

This is an important meeting for all our members working for Barnet Council and The Barnet Group.

We will be discussing the following:

  • Update on the negotiations on Pay & Terms & Conditions and Pension with The Barnet Group.
  • What do Barnet UNISON Council workers want to put onto the negotiating table with Barnet Council?
  • An update on the National Strike ballot on Pay

If you have any questions please email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring 0208 359 2088

End.

A round up of the Apthorp dismissal of 93 care workers

We have been contacted by supporters for information into why 93 care workers are facing the sack on 31 October 2021.

Below are links to posts we have produced since we first heard the shocking news.

This a collection of all online articles about Save Apthorp campaign

1.Update: 93 Covid heroes face the sack

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/23/80-covid-heroes-face-the-sack/

2. Barnet UNISON request the right to speak on behalf of 93 Covid Heroes

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/26/barnet-unison-request-the-right-to-speak-on-behalf-of-93-covid-heroes/

3. What happened to the 11 Barnet Council Care Homes and day centres in 1999?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/26/what-happened-to-the-11-barnet-council-care-homes-and-day-centres-in-1999/

4. What is going on, just who owns Apthorp care home?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/03/what-is-going-on-just-who-owns-apthorp-care-home/

5. Update on Apthorp consultation: Save Apthorp

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/03/update-on-apthorp-consultation-save-apthorp/

6. Join our We Are Barnet Save Apthorp lobby in person and online

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/08/join-our-we-are-barnet-save-apthorp-lobby-in-person-and-online/

7. A Tale of Two Priorities

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/09/a-tale-of-two-priorities/

8. Is Apthorp care setting closing or not?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/09/is-apthorp-care-setting-closing-or-not/

9.Going, going gone, sold to…….what is going on at Apthorp?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/27/going-going-gone-sold-to-what-is-going-on-at-apthorp/

End.

Going, going gone, sold to…….what is going on at Apthorp?

Staff and vulnerable residents were told they would have to leave Apthorp by the 31 October 2021.

First, we were told it was closing because the building was unsafe, and the Council could not afford it.

Then we found out that they were carrying on with the refurbishment and that it might be re-opening.

Then we discovered that the Council does not own the property. It belongs to Catalyst Housing. We asked why the Council were spending money on a property they do not own.

No response.

There are 93 care workers at risk of the sack and if Apthorp is closed, however if it is re-opening, we want to be able to work with the employer to prevent loyal care workers from being sacked.

Barnet asked the following questions:

  1. What is reason for the building workers on this property?
  2. Are you re-opening Apthorp as a:
  3. Residential & day care setting
  4. Nursing, Residential, day care setting
  5. Extra care and day care setting
  6. A mixture of all the above
  7. Selling it off to the private sector
  8. Selling it off to a property developer for housing?
  9. Why is Barnet Council spending money on a property they don’t own?

No responses to the above.

Breaking News

Last week we found out that a Gerald Eve estate agent was on site at Apthorp Lodge carrying out an evaluation of the building on behalf of Catalyst Housing.

We have asked what is going on.

  • Why are Catalyst seeking a valuation?
  • Why are Barnet Council paying for refurbishment of a property which they don’t own?
  • Why have Barnet Council not sought costs from Catalyst Housing for allowing it to fall into disrepair and putting the safety of residents at risk.

It appears there is millions for contractors but nothing for care workers who risked their lives during the Covid pandemic.

You can view our care workers latest video message here https://youtu.be/mUcnJbFuFX8

You can send messages of solidarity here: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

Is Apthorp care setting closing or not?

Incredibly last week our reps were informed that Barnet Council were continuing with the repairs at Apthorp with the intention that it will re-open.

This was shocking news in that the staff were not informed it was re-opening and the Council delegated report which triggered the announcement of the sacking of the 93 Covid heroes did not mention that Apthorp would re-open

The only recorded decision was as follows:

“1. To commence work with the residents of Apthorp and their families to identify appropriate alternative placements and effect a safe transfer to the new home.”

View report here https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=8668

“Why did Barnet Council consult residents, relatives, Trade Unions and staff on the options before simply imposing a decision that is damaging both to resident and staff?”

Now we know it is re-opening we are seeking a meaningful consultation on an alternative way to deal with the issues facing the residents and staff.

Look out for further updates.

End.

 

 

 

Join our We Are Barnet Save Apthorp lobby in person and online

Please come along in solidarity for our 93 Covid Heroes who after working through Covid were told two weeks ago their jobs were going.

The lobby starts 6 pm outside Hendon Town Hall and finishes at 7 pm.

This will be an opportunity to hear from the care workers directly as to what has happened.

Barnet UNISON has a proud history of standing up for members when they are in need therefore we are calling on all Barnet UNISON members and trade union members to attend our Solidarity public lobby.

We had asked to speak at the Adults & Safeguarding Committee which starts at 7 pm inside Hendon Town Hall , but our request was denied.

We have been offered a meeting and we are waiting for the date and time.

We also want to extend our request for solidarity to the wider Trade Union movement and we are pleased to announce that our lobby will be hosted by Socialist Telly.

You can find Socialist Telly on You Tube here https://www.youtube.com/c/SocialistTelly

Here are details to join the Save Apthorp care home lobby online

Join Barnet UNISON Zoom Meeting Tuesday 14 September at 5.45 pm – 7 pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88230246920?pwd=L1ZNa1FWellMYVpRWW1zc0ZpbzI0dz09

Meeting ID: 882 3024 6920

Passcode: 894775

Solidarity

End.

Update on Apthorp consultation: Save Apthorp

 

Redundancy Consultations

If you do not consult employees in a redundancy situation, any redundancies you make will almost certainly be unfair and you could be taken to an employment tribunal. Source Making staff redundant: Redundancy consultations – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Up to now the Barnet Group have not provided answers to questions posed – tomorrow we will be 14 days into a ‘Consultation’ period of 45 days where 93 Care workers have been placed ‘At Risk’ of Redundancy at Apthorp Lodge – Covid heroes every one of them!

So far, the information requested by UNISON from the Barnet Group and NOT provided is:

  1. A Consultation Document
  2. A list of Vacancies in YCB and Barnet Homes
  3. A list of Agency staff usage in YCB
  4. Whether colleagues in The Barnet Group will be offered Voluntary Redundancy in the hope of freeing up posts for those wishing to redeploy.
  5. A ‘script’ for the 121’s
  6. Staff ‘At Risk’ have not been provide with the Fremantle managing change policy.
  7. Who is funding the redundancy process?
  8. An answer as to who decided to break with ‘custom and practice’ in the Barnet Group of informing recognised Trade Unions of impending restructures and giving accompanying Consultation documents before the start of consultation.
  9. ‘Hard copies’ of all documentation in relation to this consultation will need to be provided and distributed to staff – No answer
  10. Staff have requested that 121’s take place face to face for all parties concerned in the consultation – No answer

The 121’s with staff are scheduled to begin on Monday the 6th of September at 9.15am.

If you are in need of support, advice and representation please contact the branch at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring 0208 359 2088

 

What is going on, just who owns Apthorp care home?

News has come to light which suggests that Barnet Council does not own Apthorp care home.

See Land Registry which shows that the owner is CATALYST HOUSING LIMITED (Industrial and Provident Society No. IP16561R) of Ealing Gateway, 26-30 Uxbridge Road, London W5 2AU.

Apthorp Lodge Land Registry Title

Let’s go back to Barnet Council delegated Powers report which made the decision to close the home which has created untold stress and anxiety for residents and their relatives along with the 93 Covid heroes who work there.

“In March 2021 and May 2021 routine fire safety assessments, followed by additional building conditions surveys identified that significant and intrusive works would be required to bring the building up to standard. Indicative costs were estimated to be in the region of £2.7m.”

The report fails to mention that the costs which are high should be paid by the owner of the property instead it is the reason to justify the decision to create havoc at Apthorp.

Furthermore, the communication over this decision is all over the place.

In the communication to staff and trade unions the time to get out states 31 October 2021 yet in this report it states:

“This report recommends that, to ensure residents’ needs are being met appropriately, the adult social care team should work with YCB to support residents to move to alternative care homes by end November 2021.”

There are so many questions that are unanswered about this grievous decision see our next post

In the meantime, we are still waiting to hear back from the Chair of Adults & Safeguarding Committee in answer to our request to address the meeting on behalf of our 93 Covid heroes. The silence is deafening.

Details of our lobby on Tuesday 14 September at 6 pm are here below

2021.08.31 Apthorp lobby leaflet

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