Insourcing win at Barnet council
Over 300 staff in a variety of services like trading standards, environmental health and other regulatory services, will now be transferred back in-house
Staff at Barnet council are due to be transferred back to council employment thanks to a decade-long campaign by UNISON.
The 330 affected workers are currently employed by outsourcing multinational conglomerate, Capita, and are being brought back in house after the council was used as a test case for the outsourcing of local government services.
The staff who work under a joint venture called ‘Capita Re’ in a variety of areas like trading standards, environmental health, planning highways and other regulatory services, will be TUPE transferred back in house on 1 April this year.
In 2012, much of the service provision at the council was outsourced to Capita on decade-long contracts by the Conservative-controlled council, with the intervening 10 years marred by several controversies including a multi-million-pound fraud and contracts running vastly over budget.
Barnet’s UNISON branch has campaigned for services to be brought back in-house since the contracts were initially handed to Capita and there have already been major in-sourcing successes at the council.
In May last year, Labour won control of the council after 20 years of Conservative leadership and, though the contracts had already been due to end next year, the new council has fast-tracked plans by six months to bring some services back in house.
John Burgess, Barnet local government branch secretary, said: “This is good news for staff, good news for residents and good news for the services. I welcome the decision and look forward to welcoming back all the services back into Barnet Council where they all belong.
“For a decade, our branch has campaigned for local government services at Barnet to be brought back in-house and, while we are happy that this latest has been fast tracked, there are still many issues to address for our members who are being TUPE’d.
“These include workplace inequalities such as staff being paid differently for the same role. Barnet UNISON is already seeking discussions with the council about harmonisation of the terms and conditions of the TUPE’d workforce.
“During the worst cost of living crisis in 75 years it is imperative that our branch does it best to look after the interests of our members transferring back into the council.”
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Guest Speaker: Andrea Egan UNISON President
Wednesday 6 July 6- 7pm
To join click on link below
Meeting ID: 811 8612 5559
To view flyer click on the link below
The following communications has been sent by Barnet UNISON to the following contractors who deliver services on behalf of Barnet Council.
- Blue 9 Security
- The Barnet Group
- Norse cleaning
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Tuesday 2 November 6- 7 pm
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 817 1251 5827
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 email@example.com or ring 0208 359 2088
The Good News is that with the support of our Bin workers, Barnet Council has agreed to restore National Green Book Weekend and Bank Holiday rates of pay which will mean large numbers of our lowest paid members will be earning more money.
In February 2021 Barnet UNISON submitted a proposal for a COVID thank you payment for all frontline workers, care workers, school staff, depot workers.
The Bad news is that this proposal was rejected.
Details of our proposal is here.
and the Ugly.
On Friday 11 June 2021 Barnet UNISON enters into negotiations with The Barnet Group and Barnet Council about the serious inequalities in the workplace that are bad for the health and well being of our members and their families.