Farewell Bob – RIP

Last week our branch was contacted by members working at Flower Lane Autism Service to say that Bob had passed away in his sleep at the weekend.

I have known Bob for over 20 years he was one of the first UNISON reps I worked with in the old Barnet Social Services department back in the day.

Bob was much loved by his work colleagues and the service users. He was deeply compassionate man who loved his work and the trade union his energy and enthusiasm was infectious. I had the opportunity to witness Bob dealing with very senior managers about serious matters affecting members and I always believed that they found it hard to say no to him. He had that way about him.

Bod was always on hand to take up case work for UNISON members in distress, he didn’t like to see anyone in distress or being bullied he very much wore his heart on his sleeve.

Bob understood the importance of solidarity. He was directly involved in the two big outsourcing fights we had between 1997-2002 over residential and day services for older people and Home Care services. But it was his determination to stop the outsourcing of Learning Difficulties a year later that showed his true grit. This fight went on for over a year and eventually after all the effort the Council decided to keep the services in house. I don’t know if members really understood what Bob did during that time, but I was both honoured and impressed to have worked alongside him.

Over the years I saw less of Bob, but when I did it was if it was only yesterday we had last spoke. I could still see the passion for the job (even though he had retired he came back as an As & When) in his eyes.

I have recently spoken to a few staff who have worked alongside Bob and I understand that this news has really taken everyone one by surprise.

Bob Allan will always be associated with Flower Lane.

He will be sorely missed by staff service users and their carer’s as a kind generous man who gave everything he had to help others.

I am proud to have known Bob, solidarity Bob, Unison member and comrade.

Bob Allan RIP

We want more money for our members

Dear Barnet UNISON members

UNISON Annual Conference is taking place week commencing 20 June 2017.

In may be a surprise to our members who pay their subscriptions that UNISON branches only receive 23% of the money provided by their members.


Please note on page 2 of the UNISON REPORT ON THE 2016 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

It states in Section 6. Funding for Branches and the Regional Pool

“The funding formula agreed at the 2001 Conference came into operation on 1 January 2002. Under the formula at least 23% of subscription income has to be available for direct funding of branches with a further 0.5% available for the direct funding of the regional pool. If the direct funding of branches is not utilised, any balance is credited to the regional pool. Funding available in 2016 was £38.5 million being 23% of subscription income of £163.8 million. In the year £37.7m was credited to branches with the balance of £0.8 million being added to the regional pool.”

So not all of the 23% funding goes to the branches that do almost all of the work for their members.

At UNISON conference the year before on page 2 of the UNISON REPORT ON THE 2015 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

“The funding formula agreed at the 2001 Conference came into operation on 1 January 2002. Under the formula at least 23% of subscription income has to be available for direct funding of branches with a further 0.5% available for the direct funding of the regional pool. If the direct funding of branches is not utilised, any balance is credited to the regional pool. Funding available in 2015 was £38.9 million being 23.5% of subscription income of £165.8 million. In the year £38.1m was credited to branches with the balance of £0.8 million being added to the regional pool.”

I can report that our branch does need more funding in order that we can build on and improve the services we need to provide to our members.

It is clear that 23% for branches and 77% to UNISON HQ and Regional Offices does not represent the best deal for our members.

The challenges that are driving the need for us to do more to support our members are the brutal austerity policies that are destroying our public services.

We have had six years of austerity, one million public sector workers have been sacked in that time, this equates to 465 public sector workers being sacked every day for the past six years. This figure does not include the millions on zero hours contracts and casualised terms & conditions.

The status quo or tinkering with the funding around the margins is simply not sustainable.

It is our member’s money after all, funding needs to go to the “coalface” where branches are struggling to defend and support our members.

One proposal would be that in light of the austerity attacks all branches should as a minimum receive a third (33%) of their member’s subscription as a starting position whilst a review of the 77% takes place.

We are asking members to provide feedback.

Please email the branch at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

“I am bloody angry”– The Cruellest Cut to Welfare Rights advisors

You would think that at my time of life and my experience of cuts that I would become immune to the brutality of Austerity cuts.

But today, my head exploded as I attended a statutory consultation meeting which is proposing to delete the only two welfare benefits advisors we have left in the Council.

I will post greater details about this proposal but needless to say the two staff concerned are highly skilled, motivated and totally committed to advocating for some of the most vulnerable families in our community.

Welfare Benefits is a nightmare to navigate even social workers refer to our welfare benefits advisors as do the few remaining voluntary organisations that are left after a series of cuts to the voluntary sector.

Our two members are providing service to vulnerable families with complex mental health problems. Mental Health appears to be attracting a lot of attention, a lot of warms words, but it is this sort of cut that exposes the words are empty.

The proposals to replace these vital two posts with a ‘Financial Inclusion Coordinator”.

I kid you not that the service is going and this post will sign post vulnerable to services, but the thing is there are no equivalent services for these families.

When Ken Loach refers to “conscious managed cruelty” I think I can understand what he means, who in their right mind in social services would want to do this or even think this is a good idea.

What makes me even angrier is the amount of money this proposal will save is negligible when compared with the amount of money Barnet Council is spending on agency and consultants. Since 2012, spend has risen incrementally from £7.73 million to just under £20 million by 2017.

Read it for yourself here http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/is-anyone-monitoring-capita.html

What about the damage to the families who will no longer receive the support they are currently being provided.

Before anyone says there are other agencies that can provide the same services. No there are not.

This proposal is appalling and must be stopped.

Barnet UNISON and our members will do our utmost to stop this from happening. The benefit system is too complex, there is no other provider we can’t let this cut destroy more peoples lives.

We need to save this service.

You can send messages of support to Barnet UNISON office at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Barnet Council Group Appeals for school staff

To: Barnet UNISON members working in Barnet Council community schools.

We are currently supporting individual staff in unique roles with their issues.

However there are a number of staff who are in roles which are covered by what are referred to as Group Appeals.

What is a Group Appeal?

This is an appeal for a job where there are a number of post holders such as Teaching Assistant, ICT technician, Nursery Nurse, School Business Manager.

The impact of a Group Appeal directly impacts on all post holders in that role.

Before Barnet UNISON requests an Appeal we will organise meetings and send out invites for members to come along in order we can explain the process.

We have already had a series of successful meetings with Nursery Nurses who provided UNISON with valuable information about the work they do in the classroom. It is important that if you receive a request to attend a UNISON meeting after work that you try to attend one of them.

What is a formal request for an Appeal?

Barnet UNISON will notify Barnet Council to begin the ballot of members about the Appeal. Barnet Council will send a letter to all staff in that specific role asking staff if they support the Appeal request (a simple Yes or No)

It is really important that all members respond immediately that they want the Appeal to go ahead. Barnet UNISON will notify our members the ballot has begun in order we get a high turnout (we need more than 50%)

Just recently UNISON requested an Appeal for Nursery Nurses and we quickly managed to get over 80% of our members all voting YES to supporting our request to take their case to an Appeal Hearing.

What happens in an Appeal Hearing?

The Appeal hearing will be heard by a member of Human Resources (HR) and a Trade Union rep.

Barnet UNISON reps with the support of the Branch Secretary John Burgess will prepare and present the group appeal for our members.

Barnet UNISON will be submitting Stage 2 Appeals for the following roles:

  • Nursery Nurses
  • Teaching Assistants level 2
  • Teaching Assistants level 3
  • Teaching Assistants level 4
  • Breakfast Club/After Club Level 3
  • Mealtime Supervisors

Before Barnet UNISON officially requests the Stage 2 Appeals we need to discuss the grounds with as many of our members as possible.

In order to try and ensure maximum participation we will invite members to attend a number of meetings in the summer term 2017.

If you are in doubt about the process then please do not hesitate to contact the Barnet UNISON office at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring 0208 359 2088 or go onto our website http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

Download flyer here sCHOOLS leaflet 1


NEC election now on!

UNISON National Executive Elections are open now. You should receive your ballot paper in the post. If you do not receive it by April 11th contact the ballot helpline before 25th April on 0800 0857 857. The ballot closes 28th April 5pm.

Members not on the UNISON central membership system on 3 January 2017 will not be eligible to vote in these elections. Only full members are eligible to vote in this election.

This is the highest body of lay representatives in the union. It is the body which holds the union to account and gives it direction. It also scrutinises the union’s business. This is an important election so USE YOUR VOTE.

Our branch has nominated the candidates listed below as we believe these people have shown the most commitment to creating a fighting union and will seek to link disputes rather than leave branches to fight the effects of Austerity politics on their own.

Local Government Seats
Paul Homes – LG General Seat
Paul Gilroy – LG Male Seat
Andrea Egan – LG Female Seat
Jane Doolan – LG Female Seat

Greater London Seats
Sonya Howard – GL Female Seat
Helen Davies – GL Female Seat
Sean Fox – GL Male Seat

National Black Members Seats
April Ashley – Female Seat
Hugo Pierre – Male Seat

Disabled Members Seats
Roger Lewis – General Seat
Pam Howard – Female Seat

Community Seats
Kieran Grogan – General Seat
Janet Bryan – Female Seat

Young Members Seat
Josie Runswick – Young Members Seat

Street Scene ballot result : Massive “In-House” vote – Barnet UNISON

On 15 March 2017, I attended Barnet Councils Environment Committee where an outsourcing decision was to be discussed.

You can view the meeting online here https://youtu.be/Y24Lm5s-afM

In the meeting one councillor referred to a staff consultation in which only 15 out of over 400 staff responded.

The next day Barnet UNISON Street Scene reps decided to carry out our own consultation.

This time we gave Street Scene staff the opportunity to vote for the In-house option something which had been omitted from the consultation.

In just three days we had 279 responses the results were as follows:

243 staff ticked Strongly Support Street Scene Services run fully by In-House staff.

243 staff ticked Strongly Opposed all other options.

1 member of staff ticked Strongly Support Barnet Group running the service and employing all of the staff.

There were 35 spoilt ballot papers.

Now we wait until Thursday 11 May 2017 to hear their fate for our members working in Street Scene.


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