Back to school news

Covid-19 guidance updates

UNISON, NEU, GMB and Unite have published several updated guidance documents to reflect changes to safety measures in school settings in England:

The Government has chosen to remove most Covid safety measures in education and early years settings in England, a decision that UNISON strongly opposes. We are concerned it may well lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases and cause disruption in schools, particularly as most pupils are not currently being offered the vaccine and community rates are high.

We are also concerned that the ‘indicative’ thresholds for numbers of infections set by Department for Education (DfE) in its contingency framework are too high and risk leading to the further spread of COVID.

We therefore urge branches to contact local schools and early years providers to seek agreement  to implementing the measures in our risk assessment checklist and guidance. The DfE guidance permits leaders to adopt these additional proportionate safety measures.

Our priority is to support schools and early years settings to put in place measures to try and avoid the disruption, lost learning, and illness we saw at the end of the last term.

Model escalation procedure for dealing with serious local health and safety failings

We have updated our model local escalation procedure and template letter, which can be used in the event of serious health and safety failings.
The escalation procedure’s aim is to seek immediate remedial action to keep pupils and staff safe in school.

Branches should liaise with their regions if they need to use this procedure or template.

Read the updated escalation procedure

UNISON letter to Secretary of State on Contact Tracing

UNISON has written to The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson MP raising urgent questions and concerns over new contact tracing procedures.

We fear these new government procedures could see many close contacts in education settings remain un-traced through the new system, meaning they will not even be identified or advised to get a PCR test.

Read the letter

Support numeracy for #Checktember!

Feeling confident in numeracy is a very useful skill that many struggle with. Brushing up on numbers can help members be more confident at work.

Please support National Numeracy’s campaign for #Checktember and encourage members to spend as little as 10 mins a day boosting their number confidence and skills though the National Numeracy Challenge.

The Challenge can help you to understand your current numeracy level and enables you to quickly improve with tailored learning resources.

Take part and share

 

Join our We Are Barnet Save Apthorp lobby in person and online

Please come along in solidarity for our 93 Covid Heroes who after working through Covid were told two weeks ago their jobs were going.

The lobby starts 6 pm outside Hendon Town Hall and finishes at 7 pm.

This will be an opportunity to hear from the care workers directly as to what has happened.

Barnet UNISON has a proud history of standing up for members when they are in need therefore we are calling on all Barnet UNISON members and trade union members to attend our Solidarity public lobby.

We had asked to speak at the Adults & Safeguarding Committee which starts at 7 pm inside Hendon Town Hall , but our request was denied.

We have been offered a meeting and we are waiting for the date and time.

We also want to extend our request for solidarity to the wider Trade Union movement and we are pleased to announce that our lobby will be hosted by Socialist Telly.

You can find Socialist Telly on You Tube here https://www.youtube.com/c/SocialistTelly

Here are details to join the Save Apthorp care home lobby online

Join Barnet UNISON Zoom Meeting Tuesday 14 September at 5.45 pm – 7 pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88230246920?pwd=L1ZNa1FWellMYVpRWW1zc0ZpbzI0dz09

Meeting ID: 882 3024 6920

Passcode: 894775

Solidarity

End.

Update on Apthorp consultation: Save Apthorp

 

Redundancy Consultations

If you do not consult employees in a redundancy situation, any redundancies you make will almost certainly be unfair and you could be taken to an employment tribunal. Source Making staff redundant: Redundancy consultations – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Up to now the Barnet Group have not provided answers to questions posed – tomorrow we will be 14 days into a ‘Consultation’ period of 45 days where 93 Care workers have been placed ‘At Risk’ of Redundancy at Apthorp Lodge – Covid heroes every one of them!

So far, the information requested by UNISON from the Barnet Group and NOT provided is:

  1. A Consultation Document
  2. A list of Vacancies in YCB and Barnet Homes
  3. A list of Agency staff usage in YCB
  4. Whether colleagues in The Barnet Group will be offered Voluntary Redundancy in the hope of freeing up posts for those wishing to redeploy.
  5. A ‘script’ for the 121’s
  6. Staff ‘At Risk’ have not been provide with the Fremantle managing change policy.
  7. Who is funding the redundancy process?
  8. An answer as to who decided to break with ‘custom and practice’ in the Barnet Group of informing recognised Trade Unions of impending restructures and giving accompanying Consultation documents before the start of consultation.
  9. ‘Hard copies’ of all documentation in relation to this consultation will need to be provided and distributed to staff – No answer
  10. Staff have requested that 121’s take place face to face for all parties concerned in the consultation – No answer

The 121’s with staff are scheduled to begin on Monday the 6th of September at 9.15am.

If you are in need of support, advice and representation please contact the branch at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring 0208 359 2088

 

What is going on, just who owns Apthorp care home?

News has come to light which suggests that Barnet Council does not own Apthorp care home.

See Land Registry which shows that the owner is CATALYST HOUSING LIMITED (Industrial and Provident Society No. IP16561R) of Ealing Gateway, 26-30 Uxbridge Road, London W5 2AU.

Apthorp Lodge Land Registry Title

Let’s go back to Barnet Council delegated Powers report which made the decision to close the home which has created untold stress and anxiety for residents and their relatives along with the 93 Covid heroes who work there.

“In March 2021 and May 2021 routine fire safety assessments, followed by additional building conditions surveys identified that significant and intrusive works would be required to bring the building up to standard. Indicative costs were estimated to be in the region of £2.7m.”

The report fails to mention that the costs which are high should be paid by the owner of the property instead it is the reason to justify the decision to create havoc at Apthorp.

Furthermore, the communication over this decision is all over the place.

In the communication to staff and trade unions the time to get out states 31 October 2021 yet in this report it states:

“This report recommends that, to ensure residents’ needs are being met appropriately, the adult social care team should work with YCB to support residents to move to alternative care homes by end November 2021.”

There are so many questions that are unanswered about this grievous decision see our next post

In the meantime, we are still waiting to hear back from the Chair of Adults & Safeguarding Committee in answer to our request to address the meeting on behalf of our 93 Covid heroes. The silence is deafening.

Details of our lobby on Tuesday 14 September at 6 pm are here below

2021.08.31 Apthorp lobby leaflet

Another Barnet UNISON member rejecting Government’s 1.75% offer

Barnet UNISON National Pay Ballot goes live 3 September 2021

UNISON is clear – 1.75% falls far below what council and school workers need and deserve.

You deserve a fair and proper pay rise.

We recommend you vote to reject the offer because:

  • With inflation at 3.8%, it’s a real terms pay cut.
  • The value of local government pay has fallen by a quarter since 2010.
  • You went above and beyond during the pandemic. You kept communities safe, cared for the most vulnerable, and ensured schools remained open throughout successive lockdowns.

If you have not received your online ballot in your email in box please contact the branch at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or leave a message on 0208 359 2088

Coach Escorts Update on cuts to pay

Dear Members

We understand that some coach escorts have been sent letters stating that they are having their hours cut.

UNISON has called a meeting with BELS to discuss what is going on.

After the meeting we will be organising one to one meetings with our members and BELS to go through your case.

If you want a one to one meeting please contact the Barnet UNISON office on contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or leave a message on our voicemail on 0208 3599 2088

 

What happened to the 11 Barnet Council Care Homes and day centres in 1999?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barnet Council back in 1998 made a decision that it would outsource all of its Elderly Services residential and day care services.

They not only wanted to get rid of the workforce they handed over the property to the lucky contractor.

Imagine that 11 prime real estate locations and they only required to build four new settings (they only built three new homes, more on that in a later post).

Barnet UNISON commissioned a report to counter this proposal.

Here is what we recommended to Barnet Council back in 1999

 

Recommendations 

We recommend that:

  1. Barnet maintains ownership of its residential homes and continues to

    directly employ staff engaged in these homes. Any reorganisation and

    redirection of resources in favour of specialist or domiciliary care should be in

    the context of in-house provision and joint work with health organisations,

    rather than transfers to the independent sector.

 

  1. The residential and domiciliary services, including home care, day care and

    respite care, be subject to a comprehensive Best Value service review which

    includes a detailed examination of quality and cost.

  1. The council works with the trade unions and staff to develop the in-house

    service. As part of this a review of the operation and management of the

    service should be conducted with the full involvement of the trade unions, users and the wider community in accordance with the Best Value requirements .

  1. Alternative funding options and the impact of phased improvement work on

    the capital programme require further detailed investigation before any

    decisions are made.

 

You can read the FULL report here Barnet Res Care 1999 report

 

Needless to say, our report was ignored, and the staff and Council properties handed over to contractors.

Next post will be on what happened next?

 

Did we get high quality care homes fit for the future?

 

What happened to the work force?

 

End.

Barnet UNISON request the right to speak on behalf of 93 Covid Heroes

On Tuesday 24 August 2021 Barnet UNISON wrote to the Cllr Rajput Sachin Chair of the Adults & Safeguarding Committee

Extract below:

“ I am writing to you today on behalf of our members who provide care services at Apthorp care home.

 

 

On Friday 20 August 2021, 93 staff were informed that as a result of a Council decision to close Apthorp residential home on 31 October 2021 they are all at risk of redundancy.

 

 

This decision has understandably left our members devasted especially considering their hard work looking after vulnerable residents during the height of Covid when there were no vaccines available.

 

 

I must profess I am also concerned about the speed in which the home is to close. These are vulnerable residents and the consequences of moving can sometimes be fatal.

 

 

Our members want to know the real reason as to why the home is closing.

 

For your information these are the questions we submitted to Your Choice Barnet and we are seeking answers:

 

 

  1. Who made the decision to close Apthorp?

 

  1. When did the meeting on the future of Apthorp take place?

 

  1. What information about Apthorp was provided to the decision makers?

 

  1. Please provide copies of the information provided to the decision makers.

 

  1. Please provide a copy of the minutes of the meeting and the actions agreed.

 

I note that there is an Adults and Safeguarding Committee meeting on Tuesday 14 September 2021 at 7 pm.

 

 

Our members have asked that we seek permission from the Chair of this Committee in order we can make our case for this decision to be delayed.

 

I am formally requesting that UNISON is allowed to make representation to this committee.

 

 

Our members will be attending this meeting it would be helpful if they could see that this committee will do the right thing and provide these care workers with an opportunity to put their case against closure.

 

Stay safe.

 

Best wishes

 

John Burgess

 

Branch Secretary.

 

Barnet UNISON

As of Thursday 26 August 2021, we have not yet had a response to this request.

End.

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