Barnet College – Pay Ballot results

Members Vote ‘Yes’ To Pay Offer And Send Clear Message To Colleges: ‘Implement The Deal Or Face A Wave Of Anger’.

UNISON FE members in England have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Association of Colleges (AoC) pay recommendation offer for 2008/9 of:

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      • A 3.2% increase on all salaries and allowances from 1 October 2008, or £550 – whichever is the greater. So if a 3.2% increase gives you less than £550 you will get a £550 flat rate increase instead.

UNISON conducted a full postal ballot of every FE member in England.  90% voted in favour of the offer.

This was a vote in favour of the higher than average deal for the lowest paid with the new minimum wage of £6.91 an hour and the £550 underpinning.

The vote should send a clear message to colleges that nothing less than 100% implementation of this deal will do. Members were advised that acceptance of the offer would lead to an all-out campaign for full implementation. 

Last year a large number of colleges failed to implement the underpinning for the lower paid; this will not be allowed to happen again. Already a number of colleges are preparing to ballot for strike action over the failure of their colleges to implement the 2007/8 deal.

Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Education and Children’s Services, said:

‘Today’s ballot result is the beginning of our campaign for 100% implementation. We want to work constructively with principals and the AoC to implement the pay deal but we are clear we have an emphatic mandate from our members and if colleges refuse to pay the deal we are prepared to take action in those colleges’.

The last FE union to reach a decision on the offer is UCU who will be meeting on the 20th September. The TU side will convene there after.

END

click here for full details

Barnet UNISON Women’s self organised group meeting

UNISON has almost one million women members – more than two thirds of our union. Women still earn a lot less than men and face sex discrimination and harassment at work. Our members also juggle work and home commitments. Many have caring responsibilities and almost half work part-time. This is why UNISON takes a lead on negotiating and campaigning on women’s rights at work and in the community.

Barnet UNISON is looking to build a Women’s self organised group. Tracey Lowe and Maggi Myland are the UNISON Officers responsible for the group.

Contact Tracey or Maggi at the UNISON office on 0208 359 2088/2090 or email tracey.lowe@barnetunison.org.uk or maggi.myland@barnetunison.org.uk
Please try  and come along to the next meeting
Click here for details of time and venue.

Barnet College update

Last week saw a number of Joint Trade Union meetings at a number of Barnet College sites. Barnet College along with most FE colleges has been going through serious funding problems over the last few years due to changes in funding. The governments ‘Train to Gain’ has exacerbated matters and there does not appear to be an end to these problems.

As a result of funding issues the Joint Trade Unions have found themselves in the position of having to deal with year on year cuts to jobs. Last years consultation process raised significant concerns for the Trade Unions.

The motions passed last week reflect the concern of both members and the trade union negotiators.
(click here to read the motions passed)

Meetings have been requested with the new Director of HR so keep checking the website for updates on progress. 

FE Pay ballot
The ballot closes 8 September 2008. Keep checking the UNISON FE webpage for the results.
Click here for UNISON FE webpage

So, it begins..Future shape..Briefings 1&2

This week the Joint Trade unions have submitted two briefing papers in response to the proposals relating to the establishment of a Strategic core in the General Functions Committee 11 September 2008.

Headlines from Briefing 1

Further debate on the strategic functions…”

“Joint employer/trade union forums…..”

“Timetable should be extended to the Cabinet meeting planned for 20 January 2009..”

(click here for Full Briefing)

Headlines from Briefing 2

“The Council should endorse and enshrine the following fundamental principles and values for the Future Shape of the Council programme.”

“principles and values should be embedded in the development and appraisal of options”

(Click here for Full Briefing)

Clearly we want to make sure all council services are given a fair chance to compete against alternative models of service provision. This week Pricewaterhouse consultants begin work on developing options for Barnet Councils services. They will be conducting workshops with managers and compiling information, using templates as well as speaking to staff. We have just seen the timescale for this piece of work and feel that it is too tight to enable work on In house transformation to be done across all services.

This is why we are asking for the Options paper to be delayed until the next Cabinet meeting on 20 January 2009. Since the 6 May Cabinet paper was published we have been concerned by the absence of the In house transformation option. In the past when services have been facing privatisation the In house services have not had internal support for the service to remain in house. This is why we are calling for “Joint employer/trade union forums as a matter of urgency”

Directors, Senior managers will be speaking to Pricewaterhouse about what they feel are options for their services and ultimately YOUR jobs!

What are they recommending about YOUR job?

It is important YOU ask questions about YOUR team, YOUR service. Don’t wait until it is too late. YOU need to engage on the FUTURE of YOUR job and service.

We are hoping the “Joint employer/trade union forums” can start quickly. We have identified Planning, Building Control and Parking as one of the first forums to start. BUT this should be taking place across the whole Council workforce.

Please contact the branch if YOUR workplace is not engaging in these discussions.

Make sure you come along to the Barnet UNISON Future Shape meetings , next meeting 11 September 12 until 1.30 pm NLBP.

 

Health and Safety

Barnet UNISON believes Health and Safety in the workplace is an issue for everyone.

UNISON is at the forefront of major campaigns on stress, repetitive strain injury, back pain and violence. We are campaigning for a new way of working, one that guarantees every worker a safe and healthy workplace.

Barnet UNISON has a network of Health and Safety Representatives who tackle workplace Health and Safety issues by:

  • Making representations to the employer on behalf of members on any health, safety and welfare matter
  • Representing members in consultation with Health and Safety Executive inspectors or other enforcing authorities
  • Inspecting designated workplace areas
  • Investigating any potential hazards, complaints by members and causes of accidents, dangerous occurrences and diseases

The Branch Health and Safety Officer coordinates and supports the work of workplace Health and Safety Representatives. Barnet UNISON are always looking for people who are interested in getting involved so if you want to know more email Hugh Jordan .

Click here for more details on the roles ,responsibilities and training.

Training for Health and Safety reps – click here for details

Fremantle care workers campaign – relaunch 7 August 2008

Despite the best efforts of the branch and our regional officials, Fremantle are still refusing to make any reasonable offer to which we could put to our members.

We re-launched the campaign on Thursday, 7 August 2008, starting with a one hour strike. This is the beginning of a sustained campaign which will include further strike action aimed at restoring the terms and conditions stolen from them.

It is 16 months since Fremantle stole staff’s terms and conditions on 1 April 2007, and almost 2 years since the Fremantle care workers campaign began. The branch has conducted a high profile campaign (reaching a global audience thanks to the efforts of LabourStart) resulting in a successful march and rally in November and a well attended meeting in the House of Commons in December 2007.

Early in 2008, Fremantle care workers had a meeting for members to discuss the future of the campaign. The message from members was clear… “We want back what was stolen!” The Fremantle Stewards Committee were mandated in the meeting to meet with Fremantle to try and reach a negotiated settlement. Unfortunately Fremantle were very clear, they were not prepared to talk about what was stolen. They believe they have already made enough concessions. (their original proposals were to reduce the hourly rate and increase the working week to 39 hours a week instead of 36 along on top of what they stole from our members last year). In effect everything they gained from Single Status was to be removed at the stroke of a pen!

Firstly, and it can not be understated, the sheer loss in income our members have had to endure has proved devastating. Over the last twelve months the numbers of staff working 60 hours a week either for Fremantle or with a second and sometimes a third employer has increased. The introduction by Fremantle of a 56 hour ‘waiver’ is evidence of the scale of the problem. We are understandably concerned about the number of hours staff are working. However we do not know how widespread this practice is, which is why we have written to Fremantle, unfortunately we have not had a reply. Is it safe for staff and resident for Care Workers to work 56+ hours a week? Is it right that care staff should have to work 56 hours or more to earn a living wage in London?

Radio Four’s Jon Manel recently reported on care for the elderly. The government last month launched a consultation on how to fund social care. Whatever is decided surely those who must carry out the direct provision of care to the most vulnerable must be well trained and receive a living wage. It is not politicians, commissioners, service providers (well not until they find themselves in a residential or nursing home) who pay the penalty for undermining the provision of social care it is the service users and carers. It is not just the loss in pay that accounts for why our members do not want to give up hope. It is the knowledge that if they give up their struggle they know that their pension forecast will drop permanently. Leaving them with the added worry of how they will cope when they retire. This is something Fremantle have not really understood, instead they take refuge behind mind games with our members, accusing the branch ‘of promoting its own views’. Such poor analysis of this campaign does note bode well, particularly in the context of future challenges facing Fremantle in Barnet. We know that this contract has led to a dispute with Barnet Council.

Last year the claim was £8.672 million as it has not been resolved the claim must surely have gone above £10 million. Only three of the planned five new homes have been built. Whatever is going on behind closed doors, what is certain is that the contract will surely be re-negotiated. Will the new contract bring an increase in funding for Fremantle? If not, will Fremantle come back to our members for more? No wonder our members are angry and don’t want to give up. UNISON policy is quite clear, organise to resist privatisation and defend our members against attacks on their terms and conditions. Barnet UNISON stands proudly with our member working for Fremantle and will continue to do so as long as they need our help.

 

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