Another tragic outsourcing disaster for catering workers in Barnet

Earlier this week our branch was notified by private contractor ISS that they were giving notice to end the Kosher kitchen contract.

This was not a surprise because a number of other schools had already left this contract with ISS earlier this year.

This news is deeply troubling as it feels that the contract is unravelling and those who will be hurt will be the workforce.

When this service was a Council one it was highly successful in generating income to the Council and competing with the private sector.

The workforce was on Barnet Council Terms and Conditions and all had access to the Council Pension Scheme. Moreover, no worker would have been earning less than the London Living Wage.

At the time senior officers responded that nothing would change for staff after they were outsourced but that simply wasn’t true (see the background notes at end of this report).

What actually happened was that some schools started to pull out of the contract with ISS, and sometimes that meant being transferred to yet another contractor some of whom do not pay the London Living Wage and whose Terms and Conditions are appalling in comparison to those of the Council.

Once again it is a mainly female workforce that is being exploited and exposed to the brutality of the race to the bottom agenda of the outsourcing ideology that has blighted so many lives.

I wonder how many schools realise what impact their decisions about Catering are having on this workforce and the families that depend on them.

Schools are education settings promoting opportunities for children to learn and develop, yet at the same time they have responsibilities for the workforce they employ either directly or indirectly through use of contractors. Catering and Cleaning workers are two examples of an exploited workforce, a workforce that is regularly passed from one employer to another. The dehumanising experience of outsourcing and low pay is something which needs to end and it’s something about which Barnet UNISON will not stay silent or allow itself to be gagged.

Background to Catering outsourcing:

The Catering service was outsourced by Barnet Council in 2016.

Barnet UNISON opposed the outsourcing and demanded that:

“The Council should retain the Catering Service in-house and place it within Family Services Delivery Unit in order that all the profits can support frontline services, which are threatened by budget cuts. It should draw up a Public Service Innovation and Improvement Plan for the future of the Catering Service jointly with schools and staff.”

In our report to Councillors we stated:

“The Council is proposing to outsource Education & Skills and Catering services. Yet the Catering Service is a good example of a successful in-house service that has made efficiency improvements and competed with the private sector outside Barnet to win contracts. The Education & Skills and Catering Full Business Case reports an increase in the Catering service annual traded surplus of £241,770, a 3.33% profit, an increase from the 2.67% annual surplus in the Outline Business Case. Furthermore, there is a strong case for all the Education & Skills services to be retained in-house.”

Our report was ignored.

Barnet UNISON was seriously concerned about the impact of outsourcing on this workforce. This is a workforce where:

  • 93% of the total Education & Skills and Catering workforce is female with the Catering Service accounting for an even higher proportion at 96%.
  • 49% of the Catering workforce are Asian and Asian British, Black or Black British or Chinese or other ethnic group compared to 34% white employees based on the available data.

End.

Links:

Global giant ISS restricts rights of former Barnet Council catering workers

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2018/04/26/6089/

“TUPE or not TUPE” that is the stressful question for our outsourced ISS Catering workers

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2019/10/11/tupe-or-not-tupe-that-is-the-stressful-question-for-our-outsourced-iss-catering-workers/

ISS Pay roll changes put low paid workers at risk.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2019/04/04/iss-pay-roll-changes-put-low-paid-workers-at-risk/

History of the outsourcing of Schools Meals and Education & Skills services

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2015/11/17/history-of-the-outsourcing-of-schools-meals-and-education-skills-services/

BREAKINGNEWS: Mott MacDonald and Barnet Council in contract termination talks

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2020/06/22/breakingnews-mott-macdonald-and-barnet-council-in-contract-termination-talks/

We Are Barnet rally Weds 19 May 2021

 

Support #WeAreBarnet frontline workers by registering to join our second public rally on Weds 19 May 2021 6.30 to 7.30 pm

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/we-are-barnet-campaign-public-rally-19th-may-tickets-152488777037

#WeAreBarnet #EqualityAndJustice

Invite to Barnet UNISON AGM with Ken and Hilda, Debbie and Anju

Dear Barnet UNISON member

I am pleased to invite you to the Barnet UNISON Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday 4 March 4-6pm

The last 12 months have been the most traumatic for many of our members both in the workplace and in their homes.

Our branch has tried its best to support as many of our members as possible and will continue to do so.

I am proud to introduce our first speaker Hilda Palmer who last year was recognised as “Most Influential person in health & safety for 2020” https://www.shponline.co.uk/shp-most-influential/hilda-palmer-named-shps-most-influential-person-in-health-safety-for-2020/

Hilda work on health & safety is inspirational and she has helped out branch immensely during the COVID pandemic.

I am sure you will want to hear what Hilda has to say about safety in the Covid workplace.

Our second speaker is the legendary Ken Loach. Our branch has been working with Ken for nearly two decades we have screened several of his films and Ken has been a big supporter of our members facing mass outsourcing.

Ken is joining us to talk about the brutal inequality in the workplace that has caused untold damage to the life chances of so many.

He will introduce a clip from his most recent film “Sorry We Missed You” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysjwg-MnZao and discuss what lessons we can learn and what actions we as a branch must take to tackle inequalities in the workplace.

Our last two speakers are our very own Barnet UNISON reps Debbie & Anju both of whom work for The Barnet Group and organisation owned by Barnet Council. I’m really excited about what they have to say.

Our AGM is a really important meeting it decides what we as a branch are going to do for the next 12 months which is why we want all of our members to join us.

Due to COVID our AGM has to be online.

We need you to register to attend the meeting.

All you need to do is click on the Barnet UNISON link below to confirm you are coming to the meeting.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcocOGvrjMsGtAYwZn7i5kEeqIy-PS8euKU

On the day before the AGM you will receive an email with the link to join the meeting.

I look forward to seeing you at our AGM.

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary

Barnet UNISON

 

BreakingNews: National Joint Trade Union Pay & Conditions claims

Dear Member

Please find enclosed details of the National Joint Trade Union Pay & Conditions claims submitted

National Joint Council Pay claim
“A substantial increase with a minimum of 10% on all spinal column points.”
Read full details click on UNISON link below

http://msgfocus.com/files/amf_unison/project_190/NJC_Pay_Claim_2021_-_FINAL.pdf

National Joint Council Conditions claim
“A reduction of the working week to 35 hours with no loss of pay, and a reduction to 34 hours a week in London. Part-time staff to be given a choice of a pro rata reduction, or retaining the same hours and being paid a higher percentage of FTE”
Read full details click on UNISON link below
http://msgfocus.com/files/amf_unison/project_190/NJC_Conditions_Claim_2021_-_FINAL.pdf

When will members be told about the outcome?
Negotiations are just starting and last year it went on until September. Whatever the outcome of the negotiations Barnet UNISON members will be consulted on the offer which will be fed back to the National Negotiators.

End.

 

Barnet UNISON members working in Nursery Schools and Early Years settings need our help. Petition

Dear Members

Barnet UNISON members working in Nursery Schools and Early Years settings need our help.

Today 1820 people sadly died from COVID, yesterday it was 1600 and until today that shocking statistic was the highest COVID death rate since the pandemic.

Whilst all schools have closed to all but pupils of key workers and vulnerable children Nursery Schools and Early Years have been bullied into remaining fully open.

This was not a decision based on the science but on politics and the consequences are that more and more people are being admitted to hospital which in turn puts an intolerable pressure on our NHS workers.

As a Barnet UNISON member I am asking you to sign this petition and also to share it widely in solidarity with all our members working in Nursery Schools and Early Years Settings

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSco9gGrDAS-iDqWONtAcY81-2vjTiaPy4E28fLVHPFlE8czwA/viewform

 

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