Standing up to the “easycouncil”

Standing up to the “easycouncil”

“The spirit shown by our library workers today is a tremendous example to us all – and we will stand by them as they fight for their jobs.”
Dave Prentis,
UNISON General Secretary

The assault on our public services in recent years has fallen hardest on local government – with libraries particularly under fire.

And there are few areas that have suffered greater attacks from their local authority than Barnet.

“You have got our full support and if you need any help just let us know”                                                                                                             Mr Prentis speaking to the #BarnetStrikers

So I was proud to be on the picket line alongside library workers today, taking the fight to the so-called Tory “easycouncil” and showing local people how severe and damaging the cuts to their local services really are.

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I spoke with activists Fiona Turnbull and Hugh Jordan (Barnet UNISON’s libraries convenor) about the sheer scale of job losses and service cuts being inflicted on an already bare bones service. At Chipping Barnet (where we met this morning) the library will lose 33 staff hours (down from 56.5 hours at present). Other libraries will lose more than half of their size and be reduced to volunteer only provision.

Services lost or weakened. Jobs cuts. And those in the community who need them most left to suffer.

“Our members in Barnet have been at the sharp end, with the council outsourcing anything it can. The spirit shown by our library workers today is a tremendous example to us all – and we will stand by them as they fight for their jobs.”

Dave Prentis,

UNISON General Secretary

unison – standing-up-to-the-easycouncil

#BarnetStrikers

#SaveBarnetLibraries

Barnet LG Branch Nominates John Burgess for General Secretary

Barnet LG Branch Nominates John Burgess for General Secretary

Our Branch Executive Committee met on Monday to decide who we should nominate for General Secretary.

There was a brief discussion as members were clear about the candidates requesting our nomination. Ultimately people felt let down by the current leadership and desperate to see a change. Our branch is well aware of the work and leadership John has given to our branch and our campaigns and so we felt he is by far the best person for the job.

With that in mind, the committee agreed voted unanimously to nominate John Burgess.

UNISON Poll reveal predictable results in response to mass outsourcing

In the wake of Barnet “Commissioning” Councils plans to outsource 81% of the current workforce Barnet UNISON organised a poll of its members.

The Poll produced the following results:

87% of our member’s want to remain employees of the London Borough of Barnet UNISON.

61% of our members said as a result of knowing they could be outsourced they are seriously looking to find employment elsewhere.

96% of our members expressed concern about being outsourced.

 

81% of members said morale was bad in their workforce. 

Barnet UNISON Branch to recommend to members rejection of revised national pay offer

Barnet UNISON Local Government Branch Executive

Wednesday 15 October

The following motion was debated and agreed.

Pay Dispute

This Branch Executive condemns the National decision to suspend the strike planned and organised for 14th October based on the employers latest pay proposals which do not come anywhere near to addressing our pay claim and are nowhere near to even covering the current inflation rate and that expected next year.


This Branch Executive agrees to raise our objections at Regional and National level to the last minute decision to call off the action agreed by members. If the proposals were agreed this would lock the union into taking no action on pay for at least another two years.


The National consultation on these pitiful and derisory proposals is due to commence on 20th October through individual Branch ballots. The proposals to be consulted on are:

2.2% increase payable from 1/1/2015, covering pay years 2014/15 and 2015/2016.
Larger increases for the very lowest paid on Spinal column points 5 – 10 (from 8.56% to 2.32%)
No back pay but unconsolidated payments of £100 for most workers, £150 for scp 8-10 and £325 for scp 5-7.
Further small unconsolidated payments in April 2015 to bring the amount paid up to the equivalent of 1% for 2014/15
The proposal fails to deliver the Living Wage for the lowest paid – and indeed in those authorities where it has already been achieved the lowest paid could get no increase at all

 

The proposal, of a 2.2% increase for most workers over two years with more for the very lowest paid, delivers no more than the 1% already offered for most workers in 2014/2015 and slightly less than 1.2% for 2015/16. It effectively accepts pay restraint not only this year but through the first year of the next government.

This Branch agrees to use all Branch resources necessary to campaign amongst members to urge them to reject the proposals and to return to industrial action if necessary to secure a decent pay rise and to work with other Branches and Regions where possible to achieve a national rejection of the proposals. We also agree to continue to build solidarity for health workers, civil servants and others still due to take action on pay and to build for the TUC “Britain Needs a Pay Rise” demonstration on 18.


Legal Services update………6 July

UNISON Members will know that Legal Service should have been transferred to Harrow Council on Monday 2 July. However there has been a number of serious developments which has resulted in a delay to the transfer. The cause of the delay has been documented before. 

On Thursday 5 July 2012 I attended a special Joint Negotiation Consultation Committee to address the following concerns raised by UNISON in the tripartite meetings

UNISON Submission to JNCC 5 July 2012

UNISON wishes to put on the record their dissatisfaction with the TUPE consultation with regards the transfer of legal Services to the London borough of Harrow. Considering at the outset of this TUPE consultation UNISON had strongly urged lessons be learnt from a recent TUPE transfer with the Parking Service. It is disappointing to report that lessons have not been learnt.

Due Diligence

It has been clear from the little information which has been shared with the trade unions that Barnet staff are at risk of redundancy as a result of the TUPE transfer. Both UNISON branches have made repeated requested for a copy of the Financial Due diligence which has taken place.

UNISON recognises the risk that Legal Services may not be able to deliver a viable business case due to lack of financial information. UNISON notes this risk is reported in the business case submitted to Cabinet Resources Committee on 4 April 2012. In the same report the Council quite rightly had to provide evidence that they had mitigated this risk and does so in section 4.2

“Due diligence has been carried out to understand the costs of the future service, alongside considerations of overheads, set up costs, and pension cost”

UNISON is asking this JNCC to provide a copy of the Due diligence.

Inter Authority Agreement

UNISON has been informed that the above agreement will be shared with the staff and trade unions before it is signed. UNISON is concerned that this document may contain information which will have a material impact on our members terms & conditions. UNISON is seeking confirmation that UNISON and our members will be given sufficient time to read and consult on the information contained therein.

UNISON is asking for period of time to be provided to the Trade Unions in order for meaningful consultation of the Inter Authority Agreement to take place.

Outcome

The Council responded by saying that there was no Due diligence report and that the IAA will be circulated to staff and the Trade Unions, but no date.

 

What next?

The latest delays are now due to ongoing discussions over the content of the Inter Authority Agreement (IAA) which is a legal document between the London Borough of Harrow and London Borough of Barnet. UNISON and staff have been given an assurance that they will see this agreement before it is signed. It is fair to report that staff have mixed feelings about the transfer. Some members just want to get out of Barnet and after what has happened I can fully understand that sentiment. Others are concerned about what happens after transfer as it has already been stated that there are going to be redundancies. Unfortunately both councils are blaming each other about whether sufficient information was transferred to Harrow in order for Harrow to provide meaningful consultation about redundancy proposals with the trade unions.

It is both surprising and disappointing to have to report that for some reason Harrow Council are having a problem agreeing to the re-location protocol imposed by Barnet Council on any future TUPE transfers.

This is the fourth TUPE transfer and the process is getting worse not better, hardly inspiring news for our members in the much bigger outsourcing projects.

 

 

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