Our fight to end low pay

There is definitely a mood in the air here in Barnet.

 I can’t put my finger on it but it is there.

 In the last few weeks our reps have been going into workplaces and recruiting both members and reps in services where staff have been working throughout COVID, services such as care homes, waste and recycling, street cleansing, housing repairs and gas services, parking enforcement and passenger transport to name but a few.

One of the major issues is that they are all low paid workers and they quite rightly feel they are not being paid enough, especially when you consider they have worked on throughout all the restraints caused by the virus.

For the past six months these workers have been directed into the COVID workplace by senior managers all working from the comfort of their homes.

Being able to work from is not an option for these workers.

While senior management are saving money on transport costs because they can work from home these workers are paying the rising costs of public transport to get to their workplaces.

 Today was no exception. We met a group of workers in the Repairs and Gas Service who had recently TUPED into the Barnet Group from Mears. There were many serious issues raised, all of which can and must be dealt with by our union.

 What was great about the meeting was that this previously un-unionised workforce quickly grasped the importance of union membership in the workplace. Not only have they already begun to recruit the whole of the service, they have understood the need to have local reps and we recruited two union reps and one Health and Safety rep.

I never get tired of working with members and today reminded me of what we can do if we have the confidence and support of the workforce.

Today is but the beginning I sense things are going to get interesting here in Barnet over the next six to nine months.

 Solidarity

John Burgess

Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

Government attacking on our Pension and Redundancy Payments

The Westminster Government has pushed through parliament final regulations that will enact the absolute cap of £95,000 on all exit payments in the public sector.

This means that any exit payment made after the implementation date (anticipated to be on, or soon after 26th October) will be affected.

UNISON are campaigning to demonstrate the severe impact the changes would have on various different types of local government workers.

Read National UNISON update 6 October 2020

http://msgfocus.com/files/amf_unison/project_131/LG_60_2020_-_URGENT_update_on_the_95_000_Cap_on_Public_Sector_Exit_Payments.pdf

 

The consultation closes 9 November 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reforming-local-government-exit-pay

 What next?

In order to alert UNISON members to the seriousness of these attacks UNISON have provided 6 hypothetical worked examples below. (N.B. where the examples below talk about being a ‘member’ this means pension membership not UNISON membership).

 

Examples:

Individual 1: is 59 years old. Member for 19 years and is currently paid a salary of £29,000 per annum. She broadly fits the profile of the average member. Her new redundancy package does not contain a cash payment on top, as her pension strain is larger than the combined SRP and DSP. Member benefits are not affected by the £95,000 cap but are reduced under proposed reforms as SRP and DSP are no longer paid in excess to pension strain. Under the proposed reforms, benefits on redundancy are reduced by around 37%.

  • Individual 2: is 55 years old and has been a member for 25 years. He is paid a salary of £80,000 per annum. His relatively young age means that he receives a high pension strain. Benefits are reduced under proposed reforms as SRP and DSP are no longer paid in excess to pension strain and pension stain is capped at £95,000. His new redundancy benefits are £95,000, as his pension strain is already over £95,000. Under the proposed reforms, benefits on redundancy are reduced by around 61%.
  • Individual 3: is 61 years old. He has been a member for 31 years and is currently paid a salary of £41,000 per annum. Member is entitled to a cash payment as the DSP the member would have been entitled to is higher than pension strain (net of SRP). Member benefits are not affected by the £95,000 cap but are reduced under proposed reforms as full SRP and DSP are no longer paid in excess to pension strain. His redundancy benefits are reduced by 38%.
  • Individual 4: is 65 years old. She has been a member 7 years and is currently paid a salary of £20,000 per annum. Member is entitled to a cash top up as pension strain is less than SRP, and DSP the member would have been entitled to is greater than strain (net of SRP). Member benefits are not affected by the £95,000 cap but are reduced under proposed reforms as full SRP and DSP are no longer paid in excess to pension strain. Under the proposed reforms, benefits on redundancy are reduced by around 25%.
  • Individual 5: is 60 years old. She has been a member for 4 years and is currently paid a salary of £35,000 per annum. Her new redundancy package does not contain a cash payment element as her pension strain is larger than the combined SRP and DSP. Member benefits are not affected by the £95,000 cap but are reduced under proposed reforms as full SRP and DSP are no longer paid in excess to pension strain. Under the proposed reforms, benefits on redundancy are reduced by around 29%.
  • Individual 6: is 67 years old and has been a member 23 years. She is currently paid a salary of £34,000 per annum. Her age and service history mean that there is no pension strain. The member is not affected by the £95,000 cap. Her redundancy package will be unchanged and will consist entirely of the cash payment which is equal to her original SRP plus DSP.

What can you do?

If you have any questions and concerns please email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Bin worker Update 4: Victory for our members

“I am pleased to report that Barnet Council have dropped the proposed change to our members’ contracts.

The Council responded that they had listened to the views from Barnet UNISON and the views of our members in a face to face meeting which took place in the depot several weeks ago.

This is a massive result for our Bin workers.

It is the second time that we have balloted in a 12 month period and it is the second time they have delivered a solid vote for strike action.

The message is very clear for all workers facing attacks from employers – join a union and get involved in the union.

The union provides the opportunity to fight back.

I am really proud that our Barnet UNISON members can hold their heads up high along with Tower Hamlets UNISON members, SOAS UNISON members, and UNISON members who work for Wigan-Council commissioned drug and alcohol rehabilitation service ‘We Are With You’ who are currently taking 10 days strike action.

All of these UNISON members have stood together and voted to fight back.”

John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

 End.

Breaking News: Bin workers Trade Dispute meeting with Barnet Council update 1

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/09/18/breaking-news-bin-workers-trade-dispute-meeting-with-barnet-council/

Barnet Bin workers dispute update 2

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/09/19/barnet-bin-workers-dispute-update/

Barnet Bin workers Update 3

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/09/21/barnet-bin-workers-update-3/

Barnet UNISON Nominated Paul Holmes for General Secretary

Barnet UNISON branch nominated Paul Holmes for General Secretary because he wants UNISON to change.

He knows UNISON nationally is not delivering for members. Paul wants half of UNISON resources directed to local branches and their members.

The Government is coming with more attacks on us. Paul has the best track-record of leadership – fighting for members and winning – whether pay, jobs, safety, racism or discrimination.

Paul will take the job on his current wage of £32,000. How can you represent members whose average wage is £27,000 if you accept the advertised salary of £138,000?

He has supported our branch.

*** Pensions: New Annual Benefit Statements to be issued by Capita.

 

Dear Barnet UNISON Members

Sadly the Annual Benefit Statement (ABS) issued by Capita Pensions service this September to LBB staff (not schools) was wrong.

We are urgently seeking confirmation as to when the updated ABS will be sent out as we are aware that the Pension Administration Service is being handed over to a new Company at the end of next month.

Members are understandably worried that if their ABS is wrong it will be hard chasing Capita for data once the service has been handed over to the new company.

Barnet UNISON has also been made aware of a number of other errors different to the one above and we are in contact with the Council on behalf of members to try to resolve these matters.

Lastly, it is important to note that the error that led to the inaccurate ABS being sent out to staff was a PAYROLL error.

The Payroll service is delivered by Capita out of the Belfast office. This service is not being handed to the new company.

Barnet UNISON is concerned that if pay roll errors continue then the Pension Service will not produce accurate Pension figures for members of the scheme. We have repeatedly raised this concern with the Council and will continue to do so for our members.

End.

 

Passenger Transport COVID Update 1.  

Thursday 24 September 2020.

Barnet UNISON has been contacted by coach escorts and drivers about COVID safety concerns since the service began at the beginning of September.

The issues are

  1. Overcrowded minibuses which have 10 or more pupils on a bus.
  2. Overcrowded minicabs
  3. COVID Cleansing of private contract vehicles

Barnet UNISON made the point that Government Guidance was a minimum standard and that we want a higher standard of protection for our members especially in light of the fact that a significant number of this workforce had been self-isolating.

Barnet Council have agreed to look at the numbers on the vehicles and the cleansing regime for the private contractor vehicles.

We want to assure all of our members working in Passenger Transport that your safety and welfare are central to what we do.

If you have any concerns please contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Barnet Bin workers Update 3

Barnet Council depot, Bittacy Hill, Mill Hill.Unison members on strike.02/11/15

Today Barnet UNISON and GMB met with senior management to discuss the proposed changes to Bin workers’ contracts.

At this meeting senior management responded to say that after meeting with the workforce and listening to their views about the proposal they needed to go back to the Corporate Management Team.

Management said they would be responding back to the trade unions with a date for a new meeting by close of play today or tomorrow.

I registered my disappointment that management had not come to this meeting with a response as our members were waiting to hear the outcome of this meeting today. I made it clear that I did not want the added stress and pressure hanging over the workforce any longer.

Look out tomorrow for further details from Barnet UNISON.

John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

End.

Notes to Editors

Contact details: John Burgess Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

Background links:

Breaking News: Bin workers Trade Dispute meeting with Barnet Council update 1

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/09/18/breaking-news-bin-workers-trade-dispute-meeting-with-barnet-council/

Barnet Bin workers dispute update 2

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/09/19/barnet-bin-workers-dispute-update/

 

Barnet Bin workers dispute update 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We conducted an internal strike ballot on the management proposal to enforce a change to the contracts of Bin workers.

We had a 99% turnout and a 98% vote to reject the proposal.

This was shared with management.

Management have been told that our members feel they are being bullied by this proposal. 

They know first hand about the growing anger amongst the workforce in response to this proposal, yet they continue to pursue it.

This vote is a warning to Barnet Council that the mood within the workforce is for strike action if management seek to force the contract change through sack and re-engage.

For a period between 2009 and 2016 Barnet UNISON had strikes every year.

We know how to organise strikes and we are ready to mobilise if on Monday 20 September management persist with this aggressive act.

Messages of support for Barnet Bin Workers can be sent to contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Look out for our next update on Monday

Solidarity

 

Barnet UNISON.

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