Breaking News: Barnet Council Mental Health social workers to be balloted for strike action.

13 June 2023

Barnet UNISON has today submitted their application for the UNISON Industrial Action Committee (IAC) to approve their call for members working across the following Mental Health Services Teams to be balloted for strike action.

  1. Mental Health Team – North
  2. Mental Health Team – South
  3. Approved Mental Health Practitioners Service.

The ballot is in relation to the chronic staffing issues across these services.

Barnet UNISON proposed that the Council enter into urgent negotiations over the implementation of the Council’s Recruitment and Retention Policy (RRP) for Mental Health Services as a short-term solution to try to hold on to existing staff whilst developing a more comprehensive plan to make Barnet Mental Health social work service one in which staff want to stay. The RRP has been used in Family Services social work for the last 6 six years and has recently increased the rate up to 25% in recognition of the serious RR issues in some parts of Family Services.

Key date dates of meetings to resolve the dispute: 

  1. Friday 24 February 2023 John Burgess Branch Secretary emails Executive Director – Communities, Adults and Health seeking an urgent meeting.
  2. Friday 10 March 2023 meeting with UNISON and Executive Director – Communities, Adults and Health. No agreement.
  3. Wednesday 12 April 2023 Adults JNCC UNISON and Executive Director – Communities, Adults and Health. No agreement.
  4. Wednesday 12 April 2023 John Burgess emails Chief Executive, requesting an emergency JNCG.
  5. Thursday Meeting 18 May 2023 JNCG. No agreement reached UNISON registers a Failure to Agree.

At the third and final meeting with the Chief Executive (18 May 2023) the ongoing lack of meaningful engagement on this matter was summed up at the start of the meeting when the Chief Executive advised he could only stay for 15 minutes.  This meeting had been requested by UNISON as per the procedures. The key decision maker is the Chief Executive who would have been briefed by senior council officers and would be aware that UNISON had already stated that if an agreement could not be found they would issue a request for a formal strike ballot.

In the final meeting UNISON announced that during the first three months of 2023 the following staff have left:

  • 2 Lead Practitioners.
  • 2 Senior Social Workers.
  • 2 Social Workers.
  • 3 Locums.

The two teams have a current establishment of 22 so a loss of 9 staff in a short space of time is further evidence of the chronic staffing issues in frontline mental health teams.

At the end of the meeting UNISON submitted their report and all the supporting documents.

In addition to the recent loss of staff UNISON provided feedback on the outcome of a survey of our members working across the teams.

1. Do think you are working in a safe working environment?

100% of members replied, NO.

2. Have you considered leaving your current role within LBB in the last few months?

100% of members replied, YES.

3. Do you think your salary is fair for the role you carry out?

95% of members replied, NO.

4. Do you think that you should be entitled to RRP?

100% of members replied, YES.

The responses were deeply troubling, and UNISON would have thought an employer would be concerned and want to address these issues. To date UNISON has had no response from senior management despite UNISON stating the door is open.

If management wanted to send a message to the workforce, they couldn’t make is clearer that staff views and their union are not worthy of a response.


Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or


UNISON calls for urgent action over chronic shortages of frontline Mental Health social workers.


Win the ballot: Fight for Pay meeting

Dear Colleague

This is an invitation for you to join thousands of other London council UNISON members at this meeting on Pay!

A groundbreaking event is taking place on Tuesday 21 March 6.30-7.30 pm when UNISON members from other London councils will be signing up for the first ever London Wide UNISON council & school workers meeting.

Barnet UNISON  Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 863 5870 6964

Passcode: 869860

The Cost-of-Living Crisis is unrelenting, and more and more workers are under pressure to keep up with increases in costs such as Food, Heating, Rent, Mortgages, Child Care, etc.

Council and Schools workers’ pay has fallen so low over the last 13 years that everyone is now working at least ONE day a week for free.

At the same time energy companies are announcing massive levels of profits whilst many of our members are afraid to turn on the heating.

UNISON Council and School workers now have the opportunity to add their voice to the hundreds of thousands of other trade union members who have already taken strike action over the issue of low pay such as: Transport workers, Royal Mail workers, BT workers, Teachers, Junior Doctors, Train drivers, Cleaners, Teachers, College workers, Border Control workers, Civil Servants, Barristers.

All these trade union members managed to deliver a BIG YES vote in their strike ballot.

In London we need to send a message about the hardship of living on low pay in London. To do that we need to organise across London councils in order for our members’ voices to be heard loud and clear in Parliament.

When is the Strike Ballot to start?

The strike ballot papers will start being sent out to members home addresses from 23 May to 4 July.

What can members do?

It is important that all UNISON members’ email Barnet UNISON branch at with their correct postal address and contact details including their telephone/ mobile number and email address.

It is critical to the success of the strike ballot that Barnet UNISON has the correct details and has your permission to contact you about the strike ballot.

 Phone banking.

We know from other trade unions the importance of speaking to members about voting and sending back the ballot papers. We are looking for help to be on the Barnet UNISON phone bank. If you would like to volunteer, please email us at

In the meantime, you can read the latest offer from the employer on our Barnet UNISON web site.

For Council workers click here

For School workers click here




Barnet UNISON.


UNISON submit National Council and School Pay offer alongside GMB and Unite

“UNISON is campaigning for a decent NJC pay increase for 2023, which will affect members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are asking for a pay increase of RPI + 2%. 

The Treasury’s annual forecast for RPI for 2023 is currently 10.7%, so the increase we are asking for would amount to 12.7%. 

This would ensure that council and school workers are able to afford basic necessities without having to go from the front line to the breadline.”

For more details, please click link to UNISON National website below


Your Union Needs You! – How to Win £20

Recruit a member and win £20! The more members we have in our union and our branch, the more weight we carry with the employer. It’s that simple. We negotiate ALL the terms and conditions of your employment with the main Council employers and being a member of the union means you contribute directly to what we negotiate. We consult regularly with our membership via online surveys, meetings and we can be contacted by phone on 020 8359 2088 or by email at

Over the last year we have grown in membership but there is much more to do. Many of you will be in teams where you hardly know any new members. Why not drop them a line or a phone call and ask them if they would like to join the union?

For every member who joins because you spoke to them about it, we will give you £20. This will be paid after the first subscription has been received from the new member. What you do with the £20 is up to you. You can even split it with the new member.


Branch officers and staff are excluded from the scheme, this is directed specifically at our rank and file members and activists.

The form you will need to complete is simple to do and you can get this by contacting the branch office. To order your recruitment bundle contact the branch office on 020 8359 2088 or email