UNISON General Secretary responds to The Barnet Group UNISON reps.

 

The Barnet Group UNISON Reps wrote to Christina MacAnea, UNISON General Secretary, about the plight of workers in TBG and what its like being 2nd class Public Servants and the lack of access to the Local Government Pension Scheme for our members.

We received this response:

 

Dear Patrick

Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your email. Like you I am hopeful that in those councils that are now controlled by Labour councillors we can  get positive progress and recognition for the work our members do.

I am planning to write to all new Labour council leaders asking them to meet with Unison and work with us to deliver decent  pay  and conditions for local government workers, prioritise insourcing and support our campaign for a national social care service among other issues. 

Not all these councils have formally selected their  leaders and my letter will go once we have this information.  We are also hoping to work with the Labour Group on the Local Government Association.

I know what a great job you have been doing to support our members in Barnet during really difficult  times. 

 I understand from the region that the new council leadership have already contacted the branch. Here’s hoping having a Labour controlled council gives you and the branch an opportunity for genuine partnership working.

Best wishes 

Christina 

The Tories Are Out Of Barnet!

To quote CeCe Peniston: “Finally!” (For those of us young enough to remember popular music of the 90s) https://youtu.be/xk8mm1Qmt-Y

On behalf of our members our Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary, John Burgess, has written to the newly elected Council Leader, Barry Rawlings, congratulating him on the success of the Labour Party and requesting to meet with him.

This is John making a statement to all Barnet UNISON members

For 20 years our members have had to deal with brutality of outsourcing and attacks on our time off to represent members. Our members in the Barnet Group, Capita, NSL, BELS and ISS will be expecting to see positive change for them. UNISON’s General Secretary, Christine McAnea has also been written to requesting her support for assistance in our discussions with Barnet Labour.

We’ll be providing regular updates to our members and our wider UNISON family and trade union community on our progress.

End.

Breaking News: Barnet Homes ASSIST Strike – VICTORY!

Credit: Anne-Marie Sanderson

Barnet Homes Assist plays the role of a fourth emergency service. They respond to the most vulnerable in our Barnet community, visiting clients in their homes or alerting the other emergency services after being alerted by an alarm call from a client.

The Barnet Group brought forward proposals just before Christmas to outsource or close this vital lifeline which serves 5,000 Barnet residents by the 1st of April 2022, all for the want of a budget shortfall of £160k.

Members requested a ballot for industrial action.

The ballot closed on the 16th of March.

77% of Assist UNISON members returned the ballot on time with 100% voting to take industrial action to ‘Save Assist’ and oppose the outsourcing or closure of this vital service.

The Barnet Group has listened and has made a commitment to look at other ways in which the service can become financially viable in the long term such as investment in new technology to allow Assist to bid for more contracts. This has gone some way to allay the fears of the dedicated staff who work at Assist and the vulnerable clients they serve. Talks are ongoing with the staff and Barnet UNISON about the future for the Assist service. But what is clear that Barnet UNISON members in the Barnet Group or in Barnet Council will stand together to fight against any proposal to outsource Public Services.” Patrick Hunter, Barnet Homes Convenor.

“UNISON members at ASSIST were and are prepared to fight against outsourcing of this vital frontline service that serves the most vulnerable residents in our community – we clapped for them during the pandemic – and I applaud them now, heroes, every last one of them.’’ Helen Davies, Branch Chair Barnet UNISON.

“Massive respect to our Barnet UNISON emergency response key worker members who work for the ASSIST service. They voted (100%) to take strike action with a 77% turnout in response to their employer seeking to outsource them. Today’s response from the employer that they are no longer pursuing outsourcing is welcome news. We are shortly to have fresh talks over the future for the service.” John Burgess Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON.

End.

Note to Editors: Contact details: Helen Davies Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

UNISON Official Ballot is on for “ASSIST” Workers to take Strike Action

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/03/02/unison-official-ballot-is-on-for-assist-workers-to-take-strike-action/

Barnet UNISON, Response to Barnet Homes ASSIST Proposals, 17/01/22

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Barnet-UNISON-Response-to-Barnet-Homes-ASSIST-Proposal.pdf

 

 

 

 

Emergency Cost of Living Crisis meeting

Dear members

The Cost Of Living Crisis is real and it we need a plan to defend and support our members.

 

  • UK Big Six energy firms made more than £1bn in profit
  • £40bn profits for BP and Shell
  • Petrol and diesel prices are the highest ever and it’s likely to get higher
  • The worst financial squeeze in 60 years, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Food prices rising
  • Food banks usage increasing
  • Rent rises, council tax increases, mortgages rising, water bills increasing.

All of this and yet

  • MPs are getting a £2,200 pay rise when most of our members are only getting 1.75%
  • The Government gave £37 billion for the Covid Test and Trace.
  • The Government were handing out million-pound contracts to their mates during the pandemic
  • Finally, the Government worked from home whilst many of our frontline members had to go into work without a vaccine in order to keep public services running.
  • And let’s not forget the wine and cheese parties.

Barnet UNISON is calling a meeting of all of our members to listen to our members and discuss and agree a plan of action.

We want to hear real live experiences from our members.

  • What is worrying you?
  • What do you think your employer should be doing to help you?

The meeting is on Wednesday 30 March from 6- 7pm

Please see details for joining the meeting below.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85415771085?pwd=aWVmVEdTcHdaT2hHa3BPZzV4UEQ0dz09

Meeting ID: 854 1577 1085

Passcode: 876061

End.

Barnet UNISON

UNISON Official Ballot is on for “ASSIST” Workers to take Strike Action

 

UNISON is balloting the ASSIST workers this week the result of the ballot will be announced 16 March.

  • ASSIST provides this vital support to some 5,000 residents in Barnet and in Brent.
  • For the lack of £160,000 a year the service is on notice that it is to be outsourced. UNISON has agreed to back these workers and will ballot all of them for official strike action.
  • The Assist service, amongst other things, provides and maintains equipment to 5,000 mainly elderly residents of Barnet.

The most common of these items is the “lifeline” equipment which a resident would use if they fell. The resident would pull a cord or press a button on a pendant alarm which activates in the call centre and a decision is taken about whether someone from ASSIST needs to contact emergency services, a relative or go out themselves to emergencies. This support often makes the difference between someone being able to continue living at home or having to go into residential care.

During the Covid Pandemic the ASSIST service was rightly described as the “4th Emergency Service” by senior managers in The Barnet Group.

“Last Autumn we had the debacle of 74 care workers being given redundancy due to the closure of Apthorp Care Centre and now this! This service is so cheap to run and so valuable to thousands of residents of Barnet – it beggars belief that once again the lives of key workers are being thrown up in the air as soon as the crisis is over. We want Barnet Council and The Barnet Group which are essentially one and the same thing, to do the right thing and find a way forward which benefits residents and keeps a valued service in Barnet.” (Helen Davies, Branch Chair Barnet UNISON.)

“Keyworkers who were rightly praised by their managers are now rewarded for their hard work with outsourcing. At a time when Barnet Council are bringing services back in-house from Capita how can this valued service not been treated the same. If Human Resources, Finance, Recruitment, are needed back in-house why isn’t the ASSIST service being given the same treatment? I call upon Barnet Council to take back this service in-house and provide peace of mind for the 5,000 residents and the inspirational ASSIST workers who care so much about the service they provide.” (John Burgess Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON).

“The Assist workers have the full backing of Greater London UNISON for your dispute. You provide a vital service which enables vulnerable people to stay in their homes safe in the knowledge someone will respond quickly in an emergency. It’s a no brainer that your service benefits and supports the work of social care and the NHS. We want you to win and will support you all the way.” (Tracey Dalling Regional Secretary Greater London UNISON.)

End.

Note to Editors: Contact details: Helen Davies Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

  1. For more details on the ASSIST service and Barnet UNISON response click on our link below Barnet UNISON Response to Barnet Homes ASSIST Proposal

ASSIST – the 4th emergency service – to be privatised

 

ASSIST ‘The 4th Emergency Service’

The Barnet Group have put out to tender part or all the services that our colleagues at ASSIST provide.

During the pandemic, Barnet Group management were calling ASSIST the 4th Emergency Service because of the vital services they provide to the most vulnerable in our community.

The service has been starved of investment, deliberately, by both the Barnet Group and the London Borough of Barnet, making it impossible for the service to ‘bid’ for contracts that would ensure the continuation of the service and enable it to expand.

UNISON have been informed that the yearly deficit to keep ASSIST open is £300k – but £140k yearly is the amount of unbilled service that ASSIST provides to the Barnet Group – and would have to be paid to any new provider, should any decide to bid on the tender.

Now LBB and TBG have decided that a new LBB directly funded role is merited in The Barnet Group a new ‘Head of Business Development & Transformation’ in Your Choice Barnet with a salary ‘outside’ of our Job Evaluation process but will be well in excess of £60k per year.

When will The Barnet Group and The London Borough of Barnet learn that it is frontline services to the public that should have priority when it comes to funding, not overpaid consultants?

What is to ‘Develop’ or ‘Transform’ if our services are privatised?

The message to the Barnet Group and the London Borough of Barnet is:

 The only TUPE out of the Barnet Group that is acceptable to ASSIST UNISON members is a TUPE back in to LBB

where the service came from in the first place.

Please send messages of support to ASSIST

via contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

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