Breaking News: Barnet Council Unlawful use of Agency Workers to break our strike.

10 April 2024.

Barnet UNISON Mental Health social workers received an email earlier from the Director of Adult Social Care stating that he had engaged the services of agency workers supplied by Flex 360

No one appears to have advised the Director of Adult Social Care that use of agency workers by an employer during industrial action is unlawful.

Last year UNISON defeated the government in the High Court over strike-breaking legislation that was introduced last summer. The High Court has ruled that the legislation which allows employers to use agency workers to replace those on strike, was unlawful, unfair, and irrational.

Read more here

UNISON has written to Barnet Council Chief Executive asking him to advise the Director of Adult Social Care to withdraw from this ill-advised course of action.

In the meantime, feedback from our members, who make up 95% of the workforce, is that they are furious at this crude attempt to bully and intimidate them only days before they begin nine weeks of strike action over a 13-week period.

Barnet UNISON Mental Health strikers are due to start the next phase of strike action on Monday 15 April. Our strikers have already taken 27 days of strike action and by the end of this next phase they will have taken 72 days of strike which equates to 1,305 lost working days or 13.050 lost contacts with Mental Health service users.

“In 28 years of being a Barnet UNISON rep I have never experienced the amount of anti-union rhetoric coming from senior management. UNISON has reached out several times to offer to resolve the dispute only to be met with machismo style management which has no place in the workplace and especially a workplace which is now a Labour controlled Council.

Our UNISON family of 1.4 million members is right behind our strikers, furthermore news has just come in to say UNISON Industrial Action Committee has increased strike pay to £70 per day.

My message to the Council is stop the bullying and come back with an offer which our members would be prepared to accept.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.