UNISON strike across Barnet Mental Health Services looms closer

On Monday 31 2023 July Barnet UNISON Mental Health social workers strike ballot began.

The following Mental Health Services Teams to be balloted for strike action.

  1. Mental Health Team – North
  2. Mental Health Team – South
  3. Approved Mental Health Practitioners Service.

The ballot is in relation to the chronic staffing issues across these services.

Barnet UNISON proposed that the Council enter into urgent negotiations over the implementation of the Council’s Recruitment and Retention Policy (RRP) for Mental Health Services as a short-term solution to try to hold on to existing staff whilst developing a more comprehensive plan to make Barnet Mental Health social work service one in which staff want to stay.

The RRP has been used in Family Services social work for the last 6 six years and has recently increased the rate up to 25% in recognition of the serious RR issues in some parts of Family Services.

It has also been used to recruit and retain HGV drivers.

Three weeks ago, Barnet Council made an offer of £1000 (2.5%) one off payment to the following staff:

  • Social worker
  • Occupational therapist
  • Lead practitioner
  • Team manager (social work)
  • Team manager (occupational therapy)

The proposed duration of the payments is initially for 2 years after which would be under review to assess if case for extension after this.

Barnet UNISON has started a separate consultation with our members over this offer to establish if they wish to accept or reject this offer.

In the meantime we consulted with our Mental Health Social Workers who quickly rejected the offer.

Barnet UNISON has notified Barnet Council that our Mental Health social workers have rejected the offer. We have now formally submitted our claim which we believe will resolve the dispute. We are awaiting a response.

In the meantime, the strike ballot will run to 1 September 2023.


Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk


1. Breaking News: Barnet Council Mental Health social workers to be balloted for strike action.



2. UNISON calls for urgent action over chronic shortages of frontline Mental Health social workers.