Breaking News: Covid Heroes face the sack by Barnet Council

The Barnet Group is an arm’s length company 100% owned by Barnet Council.

On Friday 9 February 2024, Enablement Home Care workers were told that they were no longer needed.

“We are the best at what we do, that is why we look after people discharged from hospital for 8 weeks till other carers takeover.”

Care worker

“They should be expanding our service, not shutting it, what we do is vital and we do it well”

Care worker

Staff and Barnet UNISON left the meeting with the following questions:

  1. Enablement is a well-run and valued service – why isn’t TBG expanding rather than closing the service?
  2. What engagement has taken place with stakeholders – our tenants and clients?
  3. When will we know if this is a TUPE or a Closure?
  4. What are they consulting staff and UNISON on? UNISON is clear that TBG need to provide more details before commencing with 121’s?
  5. When will ‘consultation’ begin and how long will it last?

 Background:

This service was handed to TBG after senior officers working for Barnet Council spectacularly failed over the procurement of Aquaflo a private contractor who had been given the contract by Barnet Council to deliver home care for Barnet residents.

‘Disaster’ – Aquaflo Care company’s takeover from Housing 21 goes badly wrong.” 15th September 2016.

https://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/news/14745911.disaster-aquaflo-care-companys-takeover-from-housing-21-goes-badly-wrong/

Covid: How quickly senior officers and councillors forget

It is only a few years ago that these workers were called heroes as they went into Barnet residents’ homes to provide care and support whilst many of the senior managers and councillors issued instructions from the safety of their homes.Barnet UNISON will be providing support to all of our members.

Barnet UNISON will be providing support to all of our members and in the meantime, we are calling on Barnet Council to reverse this decision and bring it back in-house to the Adult Social Care directorate where it belongs. The decision by senior officers is at odds with the Labour Party position on creating a National Care Service which is something UNISON supports. “Unison’s general secretary, Christina McAnea, told the Observer: “Care is in crisis and the need for a national service has never been greater.”

More news later.

End.

 

27 days of strike action as strikers re-ballot for more strikes!

Today is our last day of strike action. Barnet UNISON Mental Health social workers have taken 27 days of strike action which equates to at least 405 LOST working days to Mental Health services. Our members estimate that these days lost mean that at least 4,050 contacts for Mental Health services users have been lost.

It has been 162 days (six months) since UNISON notified Barnet Council of the intention to strike, yet senior management refuse to negotiate despite the obvious serious implications for service users.

Senior management are defending the indefensible they have lost control of the service, and they are doubling down on a strategy that is dragging the Councils reputation into disrepute.

Key points about our campaign.

  • Mental Health social workers support adults who experience mental ill-health to live safely and with dignity.
  • The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman says 4 – 6 weeks is a reasonable wait time for a needs assessment under the Care Act 2014. In Barnet mental health services, the wait time has reached 17 months.
  • 20 staff have left the adult social work teams in the last 18 months, and another has handed in their notice. Despite this, the council refuses to apply the same recruitment and retention payment to adult social workers that it applies to children’s social workers who are in teams with better staff retention rates.
  • Mental health social workers in Barnet are calling for the council to provide a safe service, no waiting lists and fair pay.
  • Mental Health Social Workers have taken 27 days of strike action (we estimate this works out to 405 LOST working days or 4,050 service user contacts LOST for Mental Health service users) since September 2023 but the Chief Executive of Barnet Council still refuses to negotiate.

End.

5 things you can do to support Barnet Mental Health social worker strikers

What can supporters do?

 

  1. Visit our picket lines all week commencing 5-9 February

between 8- 10 am see details on our web site here https://rb.gy/bwlesx

  1. Please sign Barnet UNISON email campaign to Barnet Council Chief Executive Please click on the link and follow the instructions. https://action.unison.org.uk/page/135744/action/1 Let us know when he replies.
  2. Please write by email or by letter to:

John Hooton, Chief Executive of Barnet Council John.Hooton@Barnet.gov.uk

Address: London Borough of Barnet; 2 Bristol Avenue; London NW9 4EW

Cllr Barry Rawlings, Leader of Barnet Council Cllr.B.Rawlings@barnet.gov.uk

Address: London Borough of Barnet; 2 Bristol Avenue; London NW9 4EW.

 

  1. Please send a solidarity message to our strikers by emailing our office at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

  1. Make a donation to the Barnet UNISON Industrial Action Fund. Email the office at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk for details.

Solidarity Kingsley

Over the past few years Barnet UNISON has been working to increase the number of UNISON reps and Health & Safety reps.

One of the services we have targeted has been Street Scene services.

Kingsley is a good example of how our branch has begun to grow the UNISON reps not just for the present but the future. Kingsley works in Ground Maintenance and they use heavy machinery and equipment to carry out their work across the borough. Kingsley is eager to learn more about his Health & Safety role in order to keep his work colleagues safe.

That is why our reps are sending solidarity to Kingsley.

 

 

Solidarity from Liz Wheatley Camden UNISON

Liz Wheatley Camden UNISON Julia Mwaluke UNISON Vice President Helen Davies Barnet UNISON

 

Dear Striking Social Workers in Barnet UNISON,

We want to send further solidarity greetings from Camden UNISON whilst you are taking more strike action over the way you are being treated. It’s outrageous that your team isn’t deemed worthy of the same retention payments as other teams and services in Barnet – we know that there’s a real problem recruiting and retaining social workers across London, and a Council that doesn’t treat you properly will lose you.

For far too long, public services have been seen by Tory governments as a waste of money – they have grudgingly given as little as possible each year. However, we know that in reality, the services we provide are a lifeline for millions, and are what makes society function – where would we be without school support staff, refuse workers, housing workers, library workers and of course social workers?

We also know that you get the service you pay for – the kind of support you provide really needs continuity, it needs providers who aren’t over-worked and stressed, who have the time to find the best for their clients, and who simply have the time for their clients. So for your bosses to not even discuss how they can solve the retention crisis in your team is a real disgrace.

Not least because the money is there. A recent report from Oxfam this month has highlighted that the five richest people in the world have more than doubled their wealth since 2020. Their wealth has increased by more than £11 an hour. At the same time, the world’s poorest 5 billion people have been made poorer. So it’s not about no money in society, it’s about who has it.

Your strike is part of a bigger fight from our class saying that we should have more of the money available – for us, and also for those we provide a service to. That’s why it matters that you win, and if we can help you by bringing solidarity then we will. Last year, some members of our branch here in Camden took indefinite strike action for 59 days, and they had a huge win – they increased their pay by £5,000 this year, and above inflation rises for the next 2 years as well. The lesson that they teach us is that if you fight, it’s possible to win!

Solidarity to you all,

Liz Wheatley (Branch Secretary) and Jacqui Wallace (Branch Chair)

Camden UNISON

Liz Wheatley

Branch Secretary

Camden UNISON

National Disability History Month 16th November to 16th December

 

Dear Barnet Group Unison member,

 

Do you have a disability?

 

If so, have you ‘declared’ it to the employer?

 

If you haven’t, please consider doing so – the employer can’t make reasonable adjustments in line with the Equality Act 2010 if they don’t know that you have a disability or condition.

 

It is really easy to ‘declare’ a disability – go to ITrent – click ‘view profile’ – under ‘confidential information’ click on ‘sensitive information’ – scroll to the bottom of the page and populate ‘self-certified disabled’ and ‘Disability description’ – and that is it – should your disability become an issue that you need a bit of help with, you would have ‘declared’ the disability/condition and the employer has to recognize that you may need to have reasonable adjustments put in place to help you.

 

Please consider declaring your illness/disability/condition – there is no stigma – I speak as someone with a long-term mental health issue [depression] who has declared their disability to the employer – the declaration is in complete confidence – and the help that I received and still receive to ‘manage’ my depression was only possible because my disability had been declared.

 

I have a disability – I am not disabled.

 

In solidarity

Patrick

 

Patrick Hunter

Barnet UNISON Assistant Branch Secretary for The Barnet Group

UNISON National Disability History Month event

27 November 20236:00pm–8:30pm

 

We’re holding a national event to celebrate Disability History Month and we’d love it if you could make it to London for it – or join us online!

The event will see the launch of our campaign for a new two-week deadline for reasonable adjustment requests. It takes place from 6pm on Monday 27 November at the UNISON Centre in London.

We’ll have some great speakers including Dr Marie Tidball, Labour parliamentary candidate for Penistone & Stockbridge and Bruce Robin, UNISON Legal Officer. There’ll also be a reception afterwards and a chance to speak to other disabled members about the campaign.

If you need support if you would like to travel to the event. Please contact the Barnet UNISON office at Contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

You can also join online –

Links to register:

Register to attend in person in London – https://msg.unison.org.uk/c/1cnOYMhTK8gpqoyeWiUQMPN

Register to attend online – https://msg.unison.org.uk/c/1cnOZPeco4t24WVFRdXuObY