Our strikers paid a visit to CQC offices in London


On Wednesday 12 June 11.30 am Barnet UNISON mental health social worker strikers went to CQC London office to hand in a letter to CQC outlining the serious issues facing mental health services in Barnet.

Our strikers made their way to the plush offices in the new developments surrounding Stratford station.

At reception we asked to meet someone from CQC in order that we could hand over our letter.

What happened next was bizarre. CQC refused to accept our letter. A member of security came and spoke to us and explained they would not accept our letter.

We pointed out that (see in the screenshot of CQC website) that it states very clearly that:

“You can leave information or documentation at the main reception.”

It was obvious CQC were not prepared to receive our letter of concern.

Later, we sent the letter by registered post, and we now have confirmation that someone signed to confirm they now have possession of our letter.

You can read our letter by clicking on the link below.


As of Wednesday 26 June 2024, no one from CQC has contacted the branch.




Pay Up now – cleaners not being paid London Living Wage

Barnet UNISON had tried unsuccessfully to convince Labour controlled Barnet Council to bring back the cleaning service in-house earlier this year. If they have had brought Cleaning back in-house which is a service which is predominantly carried out by black female Barnet UNISON members they would have made a powerful statement to a workforce that is often overlooked when it comes to consideration for insourcing.

Last week Barnet UNISON spoke to some of our cleaners to check that they are receiving the correct London Living Wage increase of £13.15.

Barnet UNISON discovered that they were NOT being paid the correct rate and we have written to Norse Cleaning and Barnet Council to ask that they are paid the correct rate, and they receive their backdated payments.

We have been given an assurance that the error will be rectified. We will wait to see our members payslips later this month.

Earlier this year our cleaners were informed there were changes to their annual leave they came to Barnet UNISON to explain. The letter was not well written and difficult to understand but we finally sorted it out and made sure that none of our members were going to lose their annual leave because of the changes.

Barnet UNISON takes its responsibilities seriously and will never shirk having difficult conversations with employers it’s what we should do.


Labour controlled Barnet Council using a recruitment agency to break our strike.

The question on the lips or our members is why Barnet Labour Party is promoting anti-union tactics using Tory legislation i.e. Trade Union Act 2016, the Minimum Service Levels (Strikes) Bill and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 whilst at the same time the Labour Party during the General Election is promoting “Delivering A New Deal for Working People.”

The Labour Party is promoting a policy called: Delivering A New Deal for Working People.

This is an extract:

As the recent period of disruption has shown, arcane bureaucratic hurdles do not prevent strikes and make it harder for unions to engage in the bargaining and negotiation that does settle disputes. The rules around agency workers in breaking strikes were condemned by industry and put the safety of the public and workers at risk. It places unnecessary red tape on trade union activity that work against their core role of negotiation and dispute resolution. Over the past 14 years, the Conservatives have consistently attacked rights at work, including through the Trade Union Act 2016, the Minimum Service Levels (Strikes) Bill and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 – all of which Labour will repeal to give trade unions the freedom to organise, represent and negotiate on behalf of their workers.

View the full document here.


Last week UNISON issued a letter asking Barnet Council to stop their course of action.

“UNISON’s view LBB may be guilty of the common law offence of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a criminal offence, conspiracy under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 or encouraging the commission of a crime under sections 44 and 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2009. Your use of agency workers during a period of strike may also be unlawful as a matter of public law. Any employment businesses who provide workers to LBB in breach of Regulation 7 may also be exposed to civil liability.”

To date Barnet Council and Imperium Solutions are still working together to break our lawful strike.



Why is the mental health social worker strike still ongoing?

Barnet UNISON Mental Health Social Workers have already taken 37 days of strike action over an eight-month period. On 13 May 2024 they begin a further three weeks of strike action which will mean they will have taken a total of 52 days of strike action.

If the dispute is not resolved, they begin four weeks of strike action on Monday 17 June 2024 which will mean by the end of this strike period they will have taken a total of 72 days of strike action.

This is an extraordinary amount of strike action in any workplace but to be happening in mental health services it is shocking and disturbing. This dispute should have ended months ago but despite UNISON trying to secure ways to reach a positive settlement, Barnet Council continues to frustrate any hopes of reaching a resolution. This coming strike action will see our members taking seven weeks of strike action over a nine-week period.

As news of this historic strike action spreads across the trade union movement supporters keep asking what is preventing a resolution.

In the interests of transparency and willingness to try and reach a resolution UNISON has put together a list of common questions we have been asked over the last nine months.

Click on link below to read our responses to questions about this dispute.




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?


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.


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.



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.


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