Cost of Living Crisis Claim Update 6 July 6-7 pm

UNISON NEC members, Unison Central, London UK

Guest Speaker: Andrea Egan UNISON President

Wednesday 6 July 6- 7pm

To join click on link below

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81186125559?pwd=T3JpL1JWNTcvRkdyUEVrSEQ5dHR6QT09

Meeting ID: 811 8612 5559

Passcode: 850826

 

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.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

93 care workers sacked during a national shortage of care workers

What does it say about our society when 93 care workers are sacked and barely a mention is made in the media or by politicians?

This week consultation closed on the decision to sack 93 care workers.

Barnet UNISON has submitted our report into the shocking sacking of 93 care workers in what has been a shameful consultation.

To understand our anger and sadness at what has happened I encourage readers to read our report which is online here  or Barnet UNISON Response to Apthorp Consultation 22.10.21 FINAL

 

“Throughout the negotiation it emerged that the decision to vacate Apthorp had been taken by Barnet Council with no consultation with any other stakeholder other than Your Choice Barnet (YCB). The rationale for this has been stated over and over but the information underpinning this decision has been withheld. This has limited the trade union engagement to one of simply negotiating the redundancies rather than avoiding them. Consequently we have unanswered questions and we dispute the view that this discussion is not relevant to the trade unions.

The decisions around Apthorp directly affect the staff who are trade union members. Furthermore there is the potential for a significant knock-on effect in terms of the budget. As a result Barnet UNISON has been denied the opportunity to consider alternatives which may have ended up being less costly both on a financial and a humane level than the only option presented.” (An extract from the report)

 

What is deeply troubling is that this happened in the week of the CQC report “The State of Care”

https://www.cqc.org.uk/publications/major-report/state-care

Some of the headlines in the report are below.

  • “The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says health and care staff are “exhausted and depleted” and working under intense levels of pressure.
  • Urgent action is needed to stop a “tsunami of unmet need” rippling across essential services this winter, the care regulator has warned.
  • Desperately needed social care staff are quitting their jobs to work in the tourism and hospitality sector because they are ‘burnt out’, the sector has warned.
  • Exhausted staff are leaving the key worker roles to fill shortages in other sectors, as pubs and restaurants struggle to find enough staff.

https://www.itv.com/news/2021-10-22/burnt-out-and-exhausted-social-care-staff-quit-to-fill-hospitality-shortage

 

“We have Covid infection levels increasing daily, an overworked and under resourced NHS staff, a deliberate lack of action/leadership by this government and lack of leadership from the political opposition in Parliament and a negligent national media, it looks like we are sleep walking into a health and social care crisis of biblical proportions. We will continue to do what we always do for Barnet UNISON members which is providing public support and standing side by side with them whatever is happening to them.”

(John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.)

 

End:

 

Background to the Save Apthorp campaign 

1.Update: 93 Covid heroes face the sack

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/23/80-covid-heroes-face-the-sack/

2. Barnet UNISON request the right to speak on behalf of 93 Covid Heroes

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/26/barnet-unison-request-the-right-to-speak-on-behalf-of-93-covid-heroes/

3. What happened to the 11 Barnet Council Care Homes and day centres in 1999?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/26/what-happened-to-the-11-barnet-council-care-homes-and-day-centres-in-1999/

4. What is going on, just who owns Apthorp care home?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/03/what-is-going-on-just-who-owns-apthorp-care-home/

5. Update on Apthorp consultation: Save Apthorp

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/03/update-on-apthorp-consultation-save-apthorp/

6. Join our We Are Barnet Save Apthorp lobby in person and online

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/08/join-our-we-are-barnet-save-apthorp-lobby-in-person-and-online/

7. A Tale of Two Priorities

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/09/a-tale-of-two-priorities/

8. Is Apthorp care setting closing or not?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/09/is-apthorp-care-setting-closing-or-not/

9.Going, going gone, sold to…….what is going on at Apthorp?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/27/going-going-gone-sold-to-what-is-going-on-at-apthorp/

End.

 

 

National Pay, Unified Reward, We Are Barnet “levelling up” negotiations 2 November update

Tuesday 2 November 6- 7 pm

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81712515827?pwd=dituZHZRSWE5VW9ETDdkb0QwWTVFdz09

Meeting ID: 817 1251 5827

Passcode: 641084

This is an important meeting for all our members working for Barnet Council and The Barnet Group.

We will be discussing the following:

  • Update on the negotiations on Pay & Terms & Conditions and Pension with The Barnet Group.
  • What do Barnet UNISON Council workers want to put onto the negotiating table with Barnet Council?
  • An update on the National Strike ballot on Pay

If you have any questions please email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring 0208 359 2088

End.

Update on Apthorp consultation: Save Apthorp

 

Redundancy Consultations

If you do not consult employees in a redundancy situation, any redundancies you make will almost certainly be unfair and you could be taken to an employment tribunal. Source Making staff redundant: Redundancy consultations – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Up to now the Barnet Group have not provided answers to questions posed – tomorrow we will be 14 days into a ‘Consultation’ period of 45 days where 93 Care workers have been placed ‘At Risk’ of Redundancy at Apthorp Lodge – Covid heroes every one of them!

So far, the information requested by UNISON from the Barnet Group and NOT provided is:

  1. A Consultation Document
  2. A list of Vacancies in YCB and Barnet Homes
  3. A list of Agency staff usage in YCB
  4. Whether colleagues in The Barnet Group will be offered Voluntary Redundancy in the hope of freeing up posts for those wishing to redeploy.
  5. A ‘script’ for the 121’s
  6. Staff ‘At Risk’ have not been provide with the Fremantle managing change policy.
  7. Who is funding the redundancy process?
  8. An answer as to who decided to break with ‘custom and practice’ in the Barnet Group of informing recognised Trade Unions of impending restructures and giving accompanying Consultation documents before the start of consultation.
  9. ‘Hard copies’ of all documentation in relation to this consultation will need to be provided and distributed to staff – No answer
  10. Staff have requested that 121’s take place face to face for all parties concerned in the consultation – No answer

The 121’s with staff are scheduled to begin on Monday the 6th of September at 9.15am.

If you are in need of support, advice and representation please contact the branch at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring 0208 359 2088

 

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