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.

Barnet UNISON report Policy and Resources Committee 6th January 2020.

Barnet UNISON report

Policy and Resources Committee

 6th January 2020.

 

SUMMARY

With respect to the decision made at the last P&R Committee, Council officers have, at best, not complied with the request and at worst have misled the Committee.

RECOMMENDATION

The Officers are required to investigate the actual costs associated with implementing the London Living Wage for the ex-Fremantle workers.

BACKGROUND

Over the past decade one thing Barnet UNISON is in agreement with Barnet Council is that the London Living Wage is the lowest rate of pay for its staff and those working on outsourced contracts.

Within the Barnet Group the minimum rate of pay for staff in Barnet Homes, TBG Flex (The Barnet Group Flex) and Your Choice Barnet is the London Living Wage – including posts which become vacant within the ex-Fremantle homes.

After a settling in period for the TUPE Fremantle staff Barnet UNISON raised in discussions with the employer the issue of paying these staff the London Living Wage as the lowest level of pay. We believe these staff should be treated no differently to other staff working for Barnet Council or on its outsourced contracts.

Barnet UNISON notes the decision regarding a discussion about implementing the London Living Wage for Fremantle TUPE transferred staff to Your Choice Barnet at the Policy and Resources Committee 3rd October 2019 is recorded in the draft minutes as:

“Following discussion on the London Living Wage for Fremantle staff who had been TUPE transferred to Your Choice Barnet the Chairman agreed to an item on the feasibility being brought back to the next Committee. This would be included in the Business Planning report”

In response to this request from Councillors the Business Planning Report dedicates a mere 2 paragraphs which is listed under “Risks to the MTFS”

  • Fremantle Care workers (London Living Wage): Former Fremantle staff were TUPE transferred to YCB in July 2018 under the agreement that terms and conditions would be protected for 1 year.  Some former Fremantle care workers that have been transferred to the Barnet Group may be being paid less than the London Living Wage (£10.75 per hour (as at Nov 2019)). The Barnet Group policy is to pay all its workers at least the London Living Wage, subject to affordability, and a HR process is now required to review any changes to terms and conditions which will need to be considered.

 

Any decision about changes to terms and conditions will need to be considered in the context of the overall pay and reward strategy for the Barnet Group, employment policies and legislation, the wider social care market and the council’s procurement rules.   It is not yet possible to quantify the level of risk associated as it is too early to form a conclusion about the application of the LLW to TUPE staff. However, officers in the Barnet Group supported by council colleagues where necessary will be working on this over the coming months and can provide further update to the committee in the future.

These two paragraphs responding to the Committee’s request in no way reflects the response Barnet UNISON or the care workers were expecting. We had expected a detailed report detailing the cost implications for implementing the London Living Wage. Instead this response kicks the question into the long grass.

This is absurd as all new vacancies in the ex-Fremantle homes are advertised as paying the London Living Wage as a minimum. These posts are open to existing Fremantle staff to apply for those posts. This means that incrementally at least some of these staff working in these homes will be all be employed on the London Living Wage. This fact is not even listed in the 2 paragraphs written by the officers. This means this risk is already a reality and yet it is not mentioned or evaluated. No turnover rates are mentioned. Is it ironic that a credible option for the ex-Fremantle staff to en masse resign from their posts and then to reapply for posts in the new homes which would have to be offered at the London Living Wage?

The report in no way reflects the request made of the Committee to the officers. A “feasibility” was requested not the “risks”. Furthermore the Councillors are asked to believe that the officers are incapable of quantifying the “level of risk” associated with “the application of the LLW to TUPE staff.”

Barnet UNISON can be of assistance to the officers and councillors in understanding some of the implications by revealing the inaccuracy of the sentence: “Some former Fremantle care workers […] may be being paid less than the London Living Wage”. (Our italics)

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. In total these were 222 staff. The largest group are the care workers which total some 143 workers and are nearly half of the ex-Fremantle workforce.

Care work is a physically demanding role as well as an emotionally demanding role. Yet according to the TUPE transfer information 161 members of staff are aged 55 years and over and of these 40 are aged 66 years and over. By contrast the numbers of staff aged under 40 years are 76.

 

RISK

There is a risk in not paying the London Living Wage as this report demonstrates:

https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/adult-social-care-workforce-data/Workforce-intelligence/documents/State-of-the-adult-social-care-sector/State-of-Report-2019.pdf

In the Care industry there is a national turnover rate of 38% for those working less than one year in the field (p.13). It shows that those who are paid more are less likely to leave their roles.

“Turnover at regulated services that were rated overall as either ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’, turnover was found to be lower (29.5%) than those rated as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ (32.2%). This trend remained consistent across each Key Line of Enquiry (KLOE) with an average difference of 2.7%. The largest difference in turnover was shown for the ‘Safe’ KLOE which had 3.4% lower turnover at providers rated positively.” (p.118)

Continuity is an important factor in delivering quality care and support to our most vulnerable residents. There are associated costs in constantly recruiting and inducting new members of staff. These can result in reputational and safeguarding costs.

Barnet UNISON strives to work with both the Council and quasi outsourced employers, such as the Barnet Group, in continuing to promote harmonious industrial relations and to provide a high level of service for our customers. This may, potentially, be put in jeopardy if the decision is not to value monetarily the important role that care workers perform.

These factors should be of importance to this Committee and to Councillors in general and should be taken more seriously than the response to the request from Council officer’s shows.

 

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.

 

 

 

Big shout out for UNISON for supporting Term Time Paid members in Barnet

“Since we were first alerted to the problem of underpayments for some of our lowest paid members I have been impressed by the support and advice from UNISON colleagues in UNISON HQ.

What started with one academy is now impacting on over 50 Barnet schools and also a number of private contractors such as ISS, Capita and Cambridge Education.

Over the next few months we have a massive task to reach all of our members in order that our Legal Team can submit claims on their behalf.

We are campaigning for each school to:

  • Adopt Barnet Council Term Time Pay calculator
  • Back dating of pay lost through the underpayment of their wages.
  • Payment towards any loss to our members Pensions due to underpayment of their wages.

(John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.)

Historic underpayments across schools and private contractors in Barnet

Barnet UNISON has written to 67 Barnet Schools, Capita, ISS, Cambridge Education and The Barnet Group in regards potential underpayments to staff who are on Term Time Pay (TTP) contracts.

Whilst the majority of staff on TTP contracts are based in schools there are workers who were outsourced to other contractors also on the same contracts.

What is this about?

It is about the calculation used to ensure that part-time workers are not being discriminated in relation to their pay.

UNISON believes that this contract term is unfair and inherently discriminatory. We believe that this contract term results term time only workers receiving less than their pro-rata leave entitlement compared to their full time equivalent (FTE) colleagues.

UNISON believes that this contract treats part time workers less favourably than full time staff and is therefore discriminatory. We also believe that the approach is potentially discriminatory on sex grounds as the workers affected are overwhelmingly female.

UNISON is seeking a recalculation of the pay and leave of these staff and a payment of back pay of any historical underpayment from their date of appointment.

We would also seek a recalculation of any pension entitlement under the LGPS resulting from any underpayment or understatement of pensionable service.

This is a massive issue for our members and we are continuing to keep all of our members briefed as to their rights at work.

If you are on a Term Time Pay contract and worried if you are being correctly paid please contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

 

Pay our Bin workers the proper rate of Pay over the Christmas and New Year

Barnet Bin workers are some of the lowest paid staff in the Council, therefore at this time of the year UNISON had hoped that the Council would want to recognise them for the vital work they do under what have been very challenging circumstances over the last 12 months.

Unfortunately the Council have misjudged the mood of the workforce.

After a year of trying to make sense of the bin collection debacle and now facing further disruption because our two year old depot is sliding down the hill workers are being told they are to be treated differently to other higher paid council workers.

The latest management offer to workers is in relation to work over two weekends over Christmas and New Year, it falls far short of what they should be paid.

All UNISON is asking for is for the staff to be treated the same as many other council workers who work weekends.

The Council has agreed many local agreements that have seen other Council workers receive time and half for working on a Saturday and double time for working on a Sunday.

Sadly, management is refusing to pay the Street Scene workforce at the same rate as other Council workers.

UNISON believes this is discriminatory against manual workers and sends a message that the Council does not care about the lowest paid workforce.

This is why UNISON is meeting with the workforce on Wednesday 4 December 2019.

 

 

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 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 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/

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