***Updated: Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers strike starts Monday 17 October 2022.

Update: Agency staff will not be used to break our strike please read our updated Press Release here

More BREAKING NEWS! Barnet UNISON Repairs Dispute

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/10/14/more-breaking-news-barnet-unison-repairs-dispute/

Breaking News: ACAS Talks Fail To Make The Barnet Group See Sense in Repairs Dispute

UNISON has suggested several ways this dispute can be resolved during the ACAS talks. None of the proposals were accepted by The Barnet Group. The only offer The Barnet Group made was to offer to increase the injured colleague’s debt.

The Barnet Group prefers seeing incensed colleagues take unprecedented all out industrial action; try to break the strike through bullying, intimidation and hiring expensive agency staff; and not repairing people’s homes because they want to stick to a principle.

That principle is not paying a worker injured at work sick pay when he was 3 weeks away from signing a contract which would give him sick pay. Our demand all along was for the injured worker to have that pay reinstated in some shape or form. Nothing more nothing less.

His colleagues and UNISON prefer to show solidarity and in these hard times we prefer to stand by a colleague so that he receives sick pay. As one colleague said: “That could have happened to any one of us”.

We have approached the new Labour Council to do something. After all Barnet Council owns The Barnet Group 100%. We hope they will intervene and insist The Barnet Group does the right thing by this worker, his colleagues and Barnet Council tenants.

“These workers were applauded as heroes throughout the pandemic. They stuck together for Barnet residents. Now they need our help as they stand shoulder to shoulder with a colleague injured at work who then received no sick pay. Every day we are impressed that these workers are so determined to fight for what is right. It is an absolute travesty that The Barnet Group thinks the principle of not paying sick pay is worth defending. Today, at ACAS we heard of instances where The Barnet Group has taken a compassionate response to sick workers and has paid more than a worker was contracted to receive. Why would they not do so here? What message does this send to the wider workforce and residents?” (Helen Davies, Branch Chair Barnet UNISON).

An injury to one, in this case, is indeed an injury to all!

 

The Barnet Repairs strike begins Monday 17th October and is all out.

Daily picket lines 7.30-8.30am, Grahame Park Housing Office 17-19 The Concourse NW9 5XA

9-10am Leafleting outside 2, Bristol Avenue, NW9 4EW. Nearest tube Colindale tube station.

Rush messages of support to:

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Donations to the Barnet UNISON Industrial Action Fund Account Email the branch for details contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

End.

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

Background:

1. Breaking News: Barnet UNISON obtain ground-breaking support from UNISONs National Industrial Action Committee (IAC).

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/09/30/breaking-news-barnet-unison-obtain-ground-breaking-support-from-unisons-national-industrial-action-committee-iac/

2. Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers 100 % vote for all out strike action

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/09/20/barnet-council-housing-repairs-workers-100-vote-for-all-out-strike-action/

3. Breaking News: Official Strike ballot begins for Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/08/25/breaking-news-official-strike-ballot-begins-for-barnet-council-housing-repairs-workers/

4. Barnet Responsive Repairs workers referred to UNISON’s Industrial Action Committee

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/08/05/barnet-responsive-repairs-workers-referred-to-unisons-industrial-action-committee/

5. Barnet Council Repairs Operatives 100% turnout and 100% vote for strike action.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/07/21/barnet-council-repairs-operatives-100-turnout-and-100-vote-for-strike-action/

6. Barnet Council’s Company Refuse to Show Compassion for Injured Worker https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/07/13/barnet-councils-company-refuse-to-show-compassion-for-injured-worker/

 

 

 

Meet Patrick: Barnet UNISON Assistant Branch Secretary for The Barnet Group

Meet Patrick

This is Patrick doing what he always does speaking up for his members.

Patrick is a long-standing Barnet UNISON member and the Assistant Branch Secretary for our members working for the Barnet Group. Patrick works in social care as a mobile warden.

Anyone who has met Patrick will say that he cares passionately for all the members he represents and the services that they provide.

Last year Patrick represented our 70 pus care workers who were made redundant on 31 October following the decision by Barnet Council to close Apthorp care home. You can read more on this closure on our web site here https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/28/8234/

It would be fair to say that this mass dismissal of care workers had a profound impact on Patrick who sat in with each one of them. Some of whom Patrick would have known for over 25 years.

More recently Patrick has been representing members working for Barnet Council Housing Repairs team who will shortly be starting strike action on Monday 17 October 2022.

You can read the details of the dispute on our web site here https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/09/20/barnet-council-housing-repairs-workers-100-vote-for-all-out-strike-action/

On Friday 30 September 2022, the employer The Barnet Group issued a statement cutting his facility time by 40%.

Patrick is committed to his members and will not let this stop him from trying to represent his members.

There are many people, not just Barnet UNISON members, but Barnet residents and the wider trade union movement who all respect Patrick for the work he does for his members.

Solidarity Patrick

End.

1. Breaking News: Barnet UNISON obtain ground-breaking support from UNISONs National Industrial Action Committee (IAC

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/09/30/breaking-news-barnet-unison-obtain-ground-breaking-support-from-unisons-national-industrial-action-committee-iac/

2. Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers 100 % vote for all out strike action

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/09/20/barnet-council-housing-repairs-workers-100-vote-for-all-out-strike-action/

3. Breaking News: Official Strike ballot begins for Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/08/25/breaking-news-official-strike-ballot-begins-for-barnet-council-housing-repairs-workers/

4. Barnet Responsive Repairs workers referred to UNISON’s Industrial Action Committee

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/08/05/barnet-responsive-repairs-workers-referred-to-unisons-industrial-action-committee/

5. Barnet Council Repairs Operatives 100% turnout and 100% vote for strike action.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/07/21/barnet-council-repairs-operatives-100-turnout-and-100-vote-for-strike-action/

6. Barnet Council’s Company Refuse to Show Compassion for Injured Worker https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/07/13/barnet-councils-company-refuse-to-show-compassion-for-injured-worker/

3 simple actions supporters can do for our #BarnetStrikers

UNISON President Andrea Egan

 

Dear Supporter

If you are shocked at the treatment of our member who was injured at work and refused sick pay during the worst cost of living crisis in 75 years, then you can help our campaign

We have three requests

1. Sign this email statement.

Barnet Trades Council have set up an email which will be sent to the three key decision makers:

Barry Rawlings Leader of Barnet Council

John Hooton Chief Executive of Barnet Council

Tim Mulvenna Chief Executive The Barnet Group

Click on the link below and follow the instructions

https://forms.office.com/r/EdEZkAh7Cv

2. Visit our social media sites and leave messages of support

 

3. Send message of support to Barnet UNISON at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

For more information about the background to our dispute check our the following articles on our web site

Background:

1. Breaking News: Barnet UNISON obtain ground-breaking support from UNISONs National Industrial Action Committee (IAC).

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/09/30/breaking-news-barnet-unison-obtain-ground-breaking-support-from-unisons-national-industrial-action-committee-iac/

2. Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers 100 % vote for all out strike action

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/09/20/barnet-council-housing-repairs-workers-100-vote-for-all-out-strike-action/

3. Breaking News: Official Strike ballot begins for Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/08/25/breaking-news-official-strike-ballot-begins-for-barnet-council-housing-repairs-workers/

4. Barnet Responsive Repairs workers referred to UNISON’s Industrial Action Committee

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/08/05/barnet-responsive-repairs-workers-referred-to-unisons-industrial-action-committee/

5. Barnet Council Repairs Operatives 100% turnout and 100% vote for strike action.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/07/21/barnet-council-repairs-operatives-100-turnout-and-100-vote-for-strike-action/

6. Barnet Council’s Company Refuse to Show Compassion for Injured Worker https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/07/13/barnet-councils-company-refuse-to-show-compassion-for-injured-worker/

 

Out of Touch Barnet for Outreach Barnet Workers!

Equal pay for Equal work?  Does that sound reasonable?

Barnet Council’s Local Authority Trading Company, The Barnet Group, doesn’t think so……

New starters with Barnet Outreach carrying out the same role as TUPE transferred workers are now being appointed on considerably higher wages than the TUPE transferred staff. The Barnet Group initially ignored this equality issue and only because these workers joined UNISON have their concerns been taken seriously, but not seriously enough.

These loyal frontline keyworkers who were lauded for their support of the most vulnerable during the COVID Pandemic are being treated as second class Public Servants by The Barnet Group and Barnet Council.

In 2019 Homeless Action in Barnet and Genesis Housing workers who were providing outreach services to vulnerable clients on behalf of Barnet Council were told by their respective employers that they were being TUPE transferred into The Barnet Group, a Local Authority Trading Company fully owned by Barnet Council.

Since then, the Outreach Services have gone from strength to strength and expanded the services they offer. They have won praise and accolades from clients, The Barnet Group and the Council for the amazing work they do with the most vulnerable in our Barnet Community.

With the cost of living crisis and inflation soaring these workers are struggling to be able to afford to come to work. They need a resolution now.

Barnet UNISON’s demand for these TUPE transferred workers is simple:

  • Pay ex-Homeless Action Barnet and Genesis Housing workers who are now employed by The Barnet Group the same salary as new starters doing the same job as them in The Barnet Group.

So far, this reasonable demand has fallen on deaf ears in both The Barnet Group and in Barnet Council – which has meant that these workers have been left with no option other than to register this as ‘a failure to agree’ with The Barnet Group.

Equal pay for Equal work.

Simple really, isn’t it?

Unless you work for The Barnet Group….

“Talk is cheap, if Barnet Homes truly respect and value equality, they do the talk, they should walk the walk. All we are asking for is respect and fairness. It is not too much to ask.” (Barnet Outreach worker)

“How can it be that loyalty is punished in this way? If all of these workers resigned now from their job, a new starter would be on the better pay rates. Is this seriously the right message to put to workers? Are these the “values” Barnet Council chooses to defend? The solution is very easy. Commit to paying these workers what you know you would have to pay any new starter from 1st July.” (Patrick Hunter, Barnet UNISON Barnet Homes Convenor)

 

End.

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

Breaking News: Barnet UNISON submits Cost of Living Crisis claim to Barnet Council contractors

The following communications has been sent by Barnet UNISON to the following contractors who deliver services on behalf of Barnet Council.

  • Capita
  • ISS
  • BELS
  • Blue 9 Security
  • The Barnet Group
  • Norse cleaning
  • Nsl

 

Dear Contractor

On Monday 6 June 2022, Barnet UNISON, GMB and NEU submitted a Joint Trade Union Cost of Living Crisis claim to Barnet Council on behalf of all our members.

In the space of a week, we now some Petrol pump prices have reached £2 per litre with no sign that this will stop at this price.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-s-most-expensive-petrol-prices-cheapest-pump-prices-reach-ps2-capital-b1005124.html

I am submitting the same emergency Cost of Living Crisis claim to your organisation on behalf of UNISON and GMB members.

We are submitting the same claim to all contractors commissioned by Barnet Council to deliver services.

For the purposes of transparency, we are copying in the Chief Executive of Barnet Council.

Introduction:

National Pay Bargaining has failed to deliver meaningful improvements in pay for many of our members. Our members have endured a decade of pay freezes and below average pay awards which has seen our members lose on average 27.5% from the value of their pay since 2010.

Whilst we wait for the national pay negotiations to reach an outcome our members are facing the fastest fall in living standards since the 1950s. Inflation is forecast to peak at over 10% this year, the sharp rise in the cost of living is hitting our members hard. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has warned economic conditions are now unlikely to return to pre-Covid levels until at least 2024.

The UK’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, predicts food price inflation will soon hit 5%. The cost of many supermarket staples has increased far more than this already – the average price of pasta increased 41% last year and tinned tomatoes went up 29%.

Within these figures, some costs are rising at an unprecedented rate, such as gas bills at 28.8%, petrol and oil at 21.4%, and electricity bills at 19.2%.

What is of concern for our members is that the support measures offered by the government are not enough.

The Joint Trade Unions welcome the “Cost-of-Living approach: Debt and Financial Vulnerabilities workstream” report going to Policy & Resources Committee on 8 June 2022. (https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s72786/Cost%20of%20Living%20approach%20Debt%20and%20Financial%20Vulnerabilities%20workstream.pdf )

In particular we agree with Recommendation 3 which states notes the urgency of the cost-of-living challenges facing residents”. Some of our lowest paid members live and work in the London Borough of Barnet.

Poorer households are currently experiencing higher inflation – on average – than better-off households

As Trade Unions we recognise that we need to act in the interests of our membership in these unprecedented times which is why we have tabled three proposals to address some of the concerns raised on a daily basis by our members.

  1. Travel to Work payment

The cost of fuel is driving up prices both for car users and for those using public transport.

In terms of public transport costs between 2009 – 21 Bus & coach fares have gone up 88% and Rail fares have gone up 55%.

Petrol and diesel costs are at a historic high. Filling up a tank costs £17 more than just one year ago, but HMRC mileage rates have not been updated since 2011/12.

There are staff, keyworkers, who have no choice but to travel to work. They are not able to work from home. Throughout the COVID pandemic they have had to keep travelling to work and incurring their travel costs at a time when many other workers have saved money because they were able to work from home.

 Barnet UNISON/GMB is asking for a Travel to Work payment to be paid each month.

 

  1. Home Working payment

The COVID Pandemic forced home working on many employers. We now have a hybrid pattern of working where staff are still working from home with occasional days at the office.

Energy prices rose even more sharply from April 2022, when the price cap received an enormous lift and the average bill increased from £1,277 to approximately £2,000 a year.

In terms of some escalating costs which we believe impact on the Home worker, between 2009 – 21 House prices have risen by 53% and Electricity bills by 65%.

The Emergency Cost of Living Crisis has changed things dramatically. The energy bill hikes are putting many of our members under financial insecurity especially in light of further energy bill increases in the Autumn.

It is only fair that the employer should contribute to energy costs for those staff working from home.

Barnet UNISON/GMB is asking for a Home Working payment to be paid each month.

  1. COVID Recognition Payment

Last year the trade unions requested a COVID Recognition payment as a sign of goodwill and recognition that many of the frontline workers had continued to deliver services right through the Pandemic and when the vaccine was not available. Our request was turned down. As previously stated in our Cost-of-Living Crisis proposal many of our lowest paid are under serious financial pressure and they want a payment in recognition of what they did during the height of the COVID pandemic.

 Barnet UNISON/GMB is asking that Barnet Council makes a one-off COVID-19 recognition payment.

 

End.

 

 

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