Barnet UNISON will never understand how a major strategic decision like moving the Council depot was made without a viable option was available to the Council frontline services.
What happened was a classic fudge/ad hoc/make do. To put it simply it has been a disaster.
The Waste and Recycling and Street Cleansing services were split between the new depot in Oakleigh Road South and London Borough of Harrow depot.
Not only was it bad operationally it was expensive and the ongoing costs have been a constant strain on the service.
The Gritting service was also moved to Harrow and we all know what happened when we had a bad winter two years ago despite the heroic efforts of the workforce to try and make it work.
It was never going to work. The staff across all services have tried their best to make it work. The fact that staffing budgets were also cut simply added to the problem. .
What didn’t help and still doesn’t help is seeing that the Capita contracts have cashed in to the tune of £438 million since the contract started which is £165.6 million more than the contract value. Try explaining that to workers whose pay or pensions has been messed up by Capita or to the staff working at Oakleigh who have seen their branch new depot splitting like it has been hit by a minor earth quake.
What is the good news?
The good news is that the Brogans site which has been empty for a long time has been secured by Barnet Council.
This means the whole of the Waste and Recycling service is now running out of Oakleigh Depot. However we are still running Street Cleansing out of Harrow which means we are still paying rent on the Harrow site and now the Brogans site.
Depot Building works
The depot has some serious problems the subsidence has split the road and there appears to be real risk of a landslide which is something that has happened in the past. This risk was clearly sufficiently serious for the Council to arrange for buildings works to begin sometime in November this year.
As a result of the major building works at the depot there is an impact on the Bin collection service. Barnet Council has written to residents about the changes.
It is disappointing that the changes had not been run by the drivers. This mistake was made with the previous Bin collection changes.
There is nothing we can do now.
It remains to be seen if the proposed changes will work.