Press release: “We Are Barnet” – Pay like Barnet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If we’re good enough for Barnet residents, we’re good enough for Barnet terms and conditions”A Barnet Group Worker

“I have rarely discovered such a deeply embedded scale of inequalities and exploitation in a local authority arms length company. This a damning indictment on the London Borough of Barnet who have colluded with this model for nearly a decade.” Dexter Whitfield, Director, European Services Strategy Unit

“It might be the London Living Wage but it’s not the London Living standard, is it?”A Barnet Group Worker on hearing they are to be moved from being paid the National minimum wage to the London Living Wage (£8.72/ hr to £10.85/ hr)

The Barnet Group workers are all on different terms and conditions often for the exact same job. This creates divisions and inequalities. Very few of the workers are on terms and conditions which resemble the Council terms and conditions and although the Council terms and conditions are hardly generous they are better in all areas than the terms and conditions most of the workers in The Barnet Group have. It means the Council can choose to pay inferior terms and conditions if it wants to.

Barnet Group staff worked through the COVID pandemic putting themselves and the lives of their families at risk. A number of them became ill with COVID as a result. They are care workers, support workers and housing workers.

The Barnet Group is a subsidiary wholly owned by Barnet Council. It now employs over 1,000 workers and is almost as big as the Council itself. All of the jobs and services done by The Barnet Group were all once carried out by the Council directly.

‘The embedded inequalities of Terms and Conditions and Pay across The Barnet Group cannot be tolerated any further.  

Barnet Group staff have been providing frontline services to the Public all the way through the Pandemic with little or no reward or recognition for the vital work and services we provide to Barnet residents on behalf of the Council – all we are asking is to be treated with the same respect as our colleagues who work directly for the Council – it really isn’t too much to ask!’  Patrick Hunter, Barnet UNISON convenor for Barnet Homes

“The Barnet Group is ridiculously complicated for work colleagues to understand. Frankly they do not understand how they can be doing the same job but be paid differently and I think we only need to understand one thing – it’s wrong. The high death rate in the UK from COVID is largely due to the socio-economic inequalities in the UK. We have had nearly one continuous year of lockdown. We all suffer when people are not paid enough to live on and thrive. This is why our campaign is about reversing that race to the bottom in pay, terms and conditions.” Helen Davies, Barnet UNISON Branch Chair

End.

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

Background:

To View Dexter Whitfields report summitted to Chief Executive of The Barnet Group please click on the UNISON link below

Barnet UNISON TBG Pay Claim

“We Are Barnet” Campaign explained https://youtu.be/m7wB0hY45Rk

We Are Barnet” explainer flyer https://bit.ly/3r9TDed

“We Are Barnet – Pay like Barnet” petition http://chng.it/wCm6ZzWTXs

 

 

 

 

 

Invite to Barnet UNISON AGM with Ken and Hilda, Debbie and Anju

Dear Barnet UNISON member

I am pleased to invite you to the Barnet UNISON Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday 4 March 4-6pm

The last 12 months have been the most traumatic for many of our members both in the workplace and in their homes.

Our branch has tried its best to support as many of our members as possible and will continue to do so.

I am proud to introduce our first speaker Hilda Palmer who last year was recognised as “Most Influential person in health & safety for 2020” https://www.shponline.co.uk/shp-most-influential/hilda-palmer-named-shps-most-influential-person-in-health-safety-for-2020/

Hilda work on health & safety is inspirational and she has helped out branch immensely during the COVID pandemic.

I am sure you will want to hear what Hilda has to say about safety in the Covid workplace.

Our second speaker is the legendary Ken Loach. Our branch has been working with Ken for nearly two decades we have screened several of his films and Ken has been a big supporter of our members facing mass outsourcing.

Ken is joining us to talk about the brutal inequality in the workplace that has caused untold damage to the life chances of so many.

He will introduce a clip from his most recent film “Sorry We Missed You” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysjwg-MnZao and discuss what lessons we can learn and what actions we as a branch must take to tackle inequalities in the workplace.

Our last two speakers are our very own Barnet UNISON reps Debbie & Anju both of whom work for The Barnet Group and organisation owned by Barnet Council. I’m really excited about what they have to say.

Our AGM is a really important meeting it decides what we as a branch are going to do for the next 12 months which is why we want all of our members to join us.

Due to COVID our AGM has to be online.

We need you to register to attend the meeting.

All you need to do is click on the Barnet UNISON link below to confirm you are coming to the meeting.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcocOGvrjMsGtAYwZn7i5kEeqIy-PS8euKU

On the day before the AGM you will receive an email with the link to join the meeting.

I look forward to seeing you at our AGM.

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary

Barnet UNISON

 

Breaking News: Covid Plus Joint Trade Union proposals

Dear Barnet UNISON members

The following Joint Trade Union proposals were sent to Barnet Council on Wednesday 4 November 2020.

We will update members as soon as we have a response.

UNISON National issue this statement on schools which you can view here

 

Joint Trade Union statement

COVID Plus. Front line workers

For the purposes of this proposal frontline means workers who cannot work from home.

  1. All staff who are deemed clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable to stay at home for lockdown on full pay.
  2. All frontline staff to receive a monthly COVID payment for the duration of the Pandemic in recognition of the important role they playing in the provision of frontline services and the simple fact frontline workers can’t work from home and have to bear the costs of travel and navigate the risks of travel on public transport.
  3. All frontline workers to have weekly COVID tests.
  4. All frontline workers to receive full pay if they have to isolate or are unable to work due to COVID.
  5. All frontline workers to have unlimited access to counselling services during this pandemic in recognition of the mental stress working with COVID brings to this workforce.
  6. If staff have to work from home due to fact their children are sent home from their school due to COVID then they should remain on full pay.
  7. All COVID related absences whilst recorded should not be used for sickness absence recording.
  8. Any staff having to make emergency visits abroad to visit a dying relative or attend a funeral should receive full pay during the quarantine period.

COVID Plus for home workers.

  1. All staff who are deemed clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable to stay at home for lockdown on full pay.
  2. All workers to have unlimited access to counselling services during this pandemic in recognition of the mental stress working with COVID brings to this workforce.

 

  1. If staff have to work from home due to fact their children are sent home from their school due to COVID then they should remain on full pay and it should be recognised that the worker has a reduced capacity to carry out their work duties.
  2. All COVID related absences whilst recorded should not be used for sickness absence recording.
  3. Any staff having to make emergency visits abroad to visit a dying relative or attend a funeral should receive full pay during the quarantine period.
  4. To recognise the damaging effect working from home has on both physical activity levels and mental health. Also to recognise that the normal practice of leaving home to travel to and from work also of travelling between venues for meetings are now lost to the home worker leading to a more compressed working routine with little opportunity to leave the home. Therefore give a one hour paid daily break to home working staff in addition to their lunch break to enable them to have down time from their computer screens and so that they can physically leave their home for a walk or partake in some form of exercise.
  5. Protocol for structuring virtual meetings to enable time away from the screen e.g. starting meetings at quarter past the hour implying that there should be a 15min break before the meeting starts.
  6. Supervision to incorporate questions relating to mental health wellbeing and physical health as well as checking on the home set up (it should not be assumed home set up is constantly the same).
  7. For a designated person to randomly contact 10 workers per week to find out from them their experience with respect to supervision, welfare checks etc.
  8. Staff with children at home should be given a designated amount of time to dedicate to their child’s learning and leisure.
  9. Key workers working from home who have a clinically or extremely clinically vulnerable child should be allowed to continue working from home if schools are closed but only open to key worker’s children.

Stay safe

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary

Barnet UNISON.

“IMPORTANT Update: Guidance and template letter for vulnerable employees (England)”

28 May 2020.

Please read the latest guidance provided by UNISON

This guidance covers:

1 Clinically extremely vulnerable employees (people at high risk)

2 Clinically vulnerable employees (people at moderate risk)

3 Employees living with / caring for the vulnerable or extremely vulnerable

4 Black employees

5 Older employees (over 60)

6 Employees who have childcare responsibilities

7 Employees who are feeling anxious about returning to work

8 Template letter to head teacher

Click on the link to read the guidance

https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2020/05/Guidance-and-template-letter-for-vulnerable-employees.pdf

If you need any help with this advice please contact the branch office at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

 

“COVID-19: How to make your workplace safe” Zoom meeting

Barnet UNISON as part of our Know Your Rights at Work campaign are hosting a

ZOOM meeting with NEU and GMB entitled:

“COVID-19: How to make your workplace safe”

Wednesday 27 May 6pm

Guest Speaker: Janet Newsham, Chair Hazards Campaign, sitting member of Employment Tribunal for past 25 years.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82640214991?pwd=cW01ZzhtTTJoeStjNWVVcGJSaEhqQT09

Meeting ID: 826 4021 4991

Password: 363400

 

Housing Services Restructure

HOUSING MEMBERS

 

As you are well aware the situation in regard to Corona Virus is changing on daily basis, I have done my best to consult with UNISON members on the latest set of proposals from management.

 

In general, the opinion is, that given the crisis we are all facing, this would not be an expedient time to launch a dispute – UNISON members are more concerned with service  delivery to our vulnerable tenants.

 

However,

 

There is still an ongoing concern that there are issues with the restructure that have not been addressed and will need to be scrutinised by UNISON members before implementation.

 

So although UNISON are not declaring a dispute at the present time, due to the unprecedented circumstances we all find ourselves in, we are reserving the right to revisit the issues which are still outstanding and should UNISON members decide, declare a dispute before the full implementation of the proposals or when circumstances have returned to ‘normal’  [whenever that is]

 

 

 

LATEST – Management position on Leasehold, Neighbourhood, Rental Income, Customer Contact Centre

Hello All,

Earlier this week I confirmed that that all interviews have been suspended up until 1 June and that this would not affect any applications for voluntary redundancy. I also stated that I would provide an update to everyone as to the implementation of the wider CEP recommendations before the end of this week.

The CEP recommendations will continue to be implemented but with some changes to account for the suspension of the interviews. Please note that these dates are subject to review in light of the ongoing COVID-19 issues. I would like to thank everybody for their continued efforts over this difficult period and I have tried to give an overview of how this will impact on each service below over the coming months and up to 1 July:

 

Changes 13 April 2020
 

1 – Income Collection Services

  • New Income Collection Service goes live with all Rental Income Team staff & functions transferring into the new service area
  • Recruitment for new Income Collection Service Manager post to be suspended in line with wider TBG approach
  • Leasehold Housing Manager and 5 x Leasehold Housing Officers transfer to the new Income Collection Service as a separate Income Collection Team (Leasehold). The Leasehold Housing Manager will report directly into Head of Housing Management
  • Leasehold Housing Officers will retain responsibility for managing leasehold management enquiries but will not be responsible for the Right To Buy process.
  • Leasehold duty line to close and be redirected to CCT

 

 

2 – Housing Management Services

  • New Housing Management Service goes live with all Neighbourhood Housing Team staff & functions transferring into the new service area
  • No change to role and responsibilities of staff as all Leasehold Management functions and the management of RTB will not be added to this service area at this point
  • All ‘at risk’ staff members (2.5 x Housing Assistants) to be retained pending interviews currently scheduled for 1 June
  • Neighbourhood duty line to be retained – to be transitioned to CCT by 1 July 2020
  • Regeneration Service to be set up over the course of April – May 2020

 

 

3 – Leasehold Development Team

  • Leasehold Development Team to be transferred with all existing staff and resources from Leasehold Services to Property Services
  • Leasehold Development Team Manager to report direct to Head of Property Services

 

 

4 – Leasehold Management Functions & Right to Buy

  • Leasehold Housing Officers will retain responsibility for managing leasehold management enquiries but will not be responsible for the Right To Buy process.
  • 1 x Leasehold Housing Assistant to be retained pending interviews currently scheduled for 1 June
  • Sections of the RTB process (e.g. RTB application pack) to transfer to the CCT
  • Assistant role to report into the Leasehold Development Team Manager
  • The Leasehold Development Team Manager will be given additional hours to lead on developing the approach to transferring all leasehold management and RTB function into the Housing Management Service
  • All transition activities regarding leasehold management and RTB functions will be reported to Head of Housing Management

 

 

Changes 18 May 2020
 

1.       Income Collection Service

  • 0.5 resource (LHO) to move out of the Income Collection Team (Leasehold) to join new transition team focussing on leasehold management enquiries
  • Responsibility for all leasehold management enquiries to transfer to new transition team

 

 

2.       Housing Management Services

  • No further change

 

 

3.       Leasehold Development Team

  • No further change

 

 

4.       Leasehold Management Functions & Right to Buy

  • To recruit 1 x FTE agency staff member to join Leasehold Management Transition Team to be joined by 0.5 resource from the Income Collection Team (Leasehold) and 1 x Leasehold Assistant
  • 1.5 x Officer resources to lead on leasehold management functions. 1 x Leasehold Assistant resource to lead on RTB and admin functions
  • Team to be managed by the Leasehold Development Team Manager

 

 

Changes 1 June 2020
 

1.       Income Collection Service

  • Interviews planned for this date – to be kept under review

 

 

2.       Housing Management Services

·         Interviews planned for this date – to be kept under review

 

 

3.       Leasehold Development Team

  • No further change

 

 

4.       Leasehold Management Functions & Right to Buy

  • 1 x FTE Housing Officer to join the transition team from Income Collection Service
  • This will allow 2 x FTE Officer resources to lead on leasehold management functions.
  • 1 x Leasehold Assistant resource to lead on RTB and admin functions will need to be replaced by agency member of staff up to 1 July

 

 

Changes 1 July 2020
 

1.       Housing Management Services

  • On 1 July all leasehold management services and RTB functions to transfer into the Housing Management Service dependent on meeting key criteria (e.g. development of key processes; training provision; IT system improvements)
  • If all criteria met the transitional team closes down and Leasehold Co-ordinator post reports into the Housing Management Service Manager post
  • If extension required must be authorised by the Head of Housing Management

 

 

2.       Leasehold Development Team

  • No further change

 

 

3.       Leasehold Management Functions & Right to Buy

  • If all criteria met transition team closes and all function move to the Housing Management Service
  • 1 x FTE Housing Officer to join the Housing Management Service
  • Agency post to be ended
  • Leasehold Co-ordinator post reports into the Housing Management Service Manager post

 

 

I will be keeping this plan under continuous review and its successful implementation is dependent on a number of factors not least having feedback from everyone about what is and what isn’t working.

 

If you do have any queries about the above, please let me know.

 

Kind regards

 

 

 

Stuart Coleman

Housing Restructure Update

Dear member,

I hope you and all your loved ones are well.

See attached or below.

This is the latest update from management in regard to the ongoing Consultation in Leasehold, Neighbourhood, Rental Income and Customer Contact Centre.

I have not been able to consult with you on these proposals or call a meeting with you to discuss whether these proposals change the position agreed upon the last time we met on the 11 March 2020.

The position then was for a dispute to be lodged at JNCC and thereafter enable an indicative ballot of members effected by as to what industrial action you are prepared to take.

Obviously the Corona Virus has markedly changed priorities.

The next scheduled JNCC is on the 3 April 2020 – so given that management have moved their position, put some further risk mitigating measures in place and moved the interview dates for ‘at risk’ staff to the 1st of June

Should UNISON lodge the dispute?

Or wait and continue further dialogue?

Please reply to this email and indicate either 1 or 2.

  1. LODGE DISPUTE NOW
  2. DO NOT LODGE AT THIS TIME

Let me know your thoughts –

In solidarity

Stay safe

Patrick Hunter

UNISON Convenor for The Barnet Group

 

 

 

 

 

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