Barnet UNISON seriously health and safety concerns about building works at the depot

On Monday 18 November 2019 building works begin at the purpose built depot.

“There may be disruption to bin collection services while we carry out urgent work at Oakleigh Depot which is where our recycling and waste services are mainly run from.

Urgent work is being carried out to fix the issue of the ground movement, so that we can continue to run services safely from the depot.

Recycling and refuse collections may take place later into the day up until 10pm.”

(Source: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/depotworks)

Basically a large section of road in the depot over 200 metres or more is at risk of sliding down the hill into Oakleigh Road South.

Barnet UNISON members have been raising serious concerns about the land movement for almost 18 months. It is disappointing that the concerns of the workforce and the trade unions were ignored and now the damage requires a serious engineering intervention that will take up to six months to complete.

Today Friday 15 November 2019, Barnet UNISON has not had a single risk assessment about the major building works that are due to start on Monday. The depot is already under pressure due to the subsidence which makes traffic movement a critical risk. We have had ongoing problems with lighting in the mornings and serious concerns about the state of the Brogans site for the vehicles. It is clear the haste to move into Brogans without making it fit for purpose is being made at the expense of the health and safety of our members.

Request after request have been submitted requesting the risks assessments none have been made available.

The following Health and Safety legislation applies has not been ignored:

Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations, 1977.Regulation 7

Inspection of documents and provision of information.

(1)       Safety representatives shall for the performance of their functions under section 2(4) of the 1974 Act and under these Regulations, if they have given the employer reasonable notice, be entitled to inspect and take copies of any document relevant to the workplace or to the employees the safety representatives represent which the employer is required to keep by virtue of any relevant statutory provision within the meaning of section 53(1) of the 1974 Act except a document consisting of or relating to any health record of an identifiable individual.

Barnet UNISON: Fail  

Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974

2 (6) It shall be the duty of every employer to consult any such representatives with a view to the making and maintenance of arrangements which will enable him and his employees to co-operate effectively in promoting and developing measures to ensure the health and safety at work of the employees, and in checking the effectiveness of such measures.

Barnet UNISON: Fail  

Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations, 1977. Regulation 4A

(1) Without prejudice to the generality of section 2(6) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, every employer shall consult safety representatives in good time with regard to – (a) the introduction of any measure at the workplace which may substantially affect the health and safety of the employees the safety representatives concerned represent;

Barnet UNISON: Fail  

In light of the above Barnet UNISON has no option but to escalate this matter in order that our members are safe at work.

If you are a Barnet UNISON member working at the Depot and have any questions or concerns please ring our Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

BREAKING NEWS: School Support Staff. What we are recommending

Barnet UNISON has now written to 67 schools where we have reason to believe our members are not being paid correctly.

If your school talks to you about this matter please refer them back to Barnet UNISON.

Our proposal to settle this matter is as follows:

Barnet UNISON would like to reach a local resolution on this matter which would involve the following:

  1. The School adopting the correct formula for paying TTO staff.

Barnet UNISON is recommending to all schools in Barnet that they should adopt the annual leave policy and term time formula used by Barnet Council since 1 April 2018.

  1. Backdating compensation for historic underpayments.
  2. Compensation for any loss of pension resulting from the miscalculation of annual leave and pay.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pay please ring our Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

End.

Background:

URGENT UPDATE: Your Pay could be wrong. This is what you must do.

URGENT UPDATE: Your Pay could be wrong. This is what you must do.

“Already over worked and underpaid, would you work for free?

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2019/11/04/already-over-worked-and-underpaid-would-you-work-for-free/

Good News: Housing options staying in Barnet House.

Last week staff working for Barnet Homes were informed that the Housing Options service would not be moving to Barnet House.

This is a sensible decision. This service is probably the most high profile and potentially volatile work environment. Due to the brutal crushing impact of austerity those who need this service have often been refused access to services. They are desperate and very vulnerable. Last year we had a fatality. It was a tragedy and it had a profound impact on many of the staff who were working there that day. This is a service that need space for residents and their families to be able to speak to staff in a safe environment.

The space allocated at Colindale was never going to be suitable.

For the time being the service is remaining at Barnet House in which case it does need some money spent on it to make it a better environment for all that use and or work there.

End.

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

URGENT UPDATE: Your Pay could be wrong. This is what you must do.

Please ring the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 in order that the Branch can explain the TWO things you need to do:

  1. Complete and return the UNISON information sheet about your work.
  2. Send a copy of your payslips to the branch.

You can download the Barnet UNISON information sheet by clicking the link below to our web site

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Barnet-Schools-Newsletter-Autumn-2019-Final-.pdf

You can email your questions to Barnet UNISON at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

You can view the latest Barnet UNISON schools newsletter explaining what we are doing about Pay by click this link to our web site below

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Barnet-Schools-Newsletter-Autumn-2019-Final-.pdf

Barnet UNISON gives Capita Estates service the Red Card

Last Monday all of the Waste and Recycling service started from Oakleigh depot. Due to a serious strategic mistake Barnet Council sold off their own depot which was based in the centre of the borough (Mill Hill) before they had secured an alternative.

As a result a small depot was built in Oakleigh Road South (east of the borough). This depot was not big enough which meant that Barnet Council had go to cap in hand to Harrow Council to pay to base some of their services from their depot.

Workers couldn’t believe it. They shook their heads in disbelief but then just got on with the job.

The costs of operating out of the depot have become a burden that can no longer be sustained and Barnet UNISON welcomes the attempt to re-unite what was previously united.

Barnet Council is now using the former Brogans depot for the extra vehicles.

Why the red card?

Early in September Barnet UNISON reported that the lighting was not working in the depot. It seems to take forever to get things fixed in the depot. This is not a criticism of the operational management as the estate service is run by Capita.

As the date of the move back from Harrow drew close Barnet UNISON again pressed for the lighting to be fixed. The extra vehicles increased our anxiety of the risk to the health and safety of our members.

It is important to remember that the existing site is about to become a building site as urgent engineer works are about to start to stop the depot sliding down the hill into Oakleigh Road South. This means the traffic management is under increased pressure.

On Monday 4 November I was sent pictures by our members to confirm that lighting was not on. It was predictable but UNISON hoped that this time things might change.

Day after day UNISON was contacted all week, five days in a row lighting problems down the depot.

Red Card

On Friday UNISON spoke with operational management to say that this could not continue and that measures must be put in place to secure the health and safety of the depot.

Barnet UNISON has attended the Committee meetings where the Capita contract was reviewed. For a short period the Estate function was down to come back in-house. However, in December 2018 Barnet Council once again let Capita off the hook.

Barnet UNISON is demanding the Estate service is brought back in-house our staff health and safety must not be compromised.

More later…….

Good News: Street Scene service moving out of Harrow depot

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.

Rounds changes.

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.

“Already over worked and underpaid, would you work for free?

It’s hard to believe but Barnet UNISON has discovered that in some cases some of our members working in Barnet Academies are losing as much as 2, 3, or 4 weeks’ pay a year.

Barnet UNISON opposed the formation of Academies as we understood this was a backdoor privatisation of schools. At the time the branch was waging a long term campaign against the mass outsourcing One Barnet Programme which, amongst other things, brought #Capita to Barnet.

As secondary schools converted to academies they were very careful to present the privatisation of their School as different to that of other Council services. Familiar statements were made to staff that nothing would change, no one would notice any changes……

Unfortunately it appears that things have changed and not for the good.

Our schools staff members are often on part time and term time contracts. They often work a lot more hours than they get paid for. Goodwill is given because our members are committed to helping the pupils experience a good education.

However:

  • Our members must pay bills.
  • Our members need to feed their families just like anyone else.
  • Our members can definitely NOT afford to be working for FREE.

This is why Barnet UNISON has written to all of our members working across the Barnet Academies to urgently complete the paperwork about their pay and send it back to the Barnet UNISON office in the business reply envelope provided.

If you have not received any paperwork from Barnet UNISON please contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

You can download the form we need back from our members by clicking the link below.

Barnet Schools Newsletter Autumn 2019 Final

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.

1 2 3 81