The Tories Are Out Of Barnet!

To quote CeCe Peniston: “Finally!” (For those of us young enough to remember popular music of the 90s)

On behalf of our members our Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary, John Burgess, has written to the newly elected Council Leader, Barry Rawlings, congratulating him on the success of the Labour Party and requesting to meet with him.

This is John making a statement to all Barnet UNISON members

For 20 years our members have had to deal with brutality of outsourcing and attacks on our time off to represent members. Our members in the Barnet Group, Capita, NSL, BELS and ISS will be expecting to see positive change for them. UNISON’s General Secretary, Christine McAnea has also been written to requesting her support for assistance in our discussions with Barnet Labour.

We’ll be providing regular updates to our members and our wider UNISON family and trade union community on our progress.


Cost of Living Crisis: London Weighting is not what it used to be!

Barnet Council grades include an element of London Weighting just like all the other London Councils.

However, times are very different. The Cost-of-Living Crisis has fundamentally changed things and now is the time for Barnet UNISON to step up.

Living and working in London is expensive. If you don’t believe me read this.

Higher living costs in London

“It has been shown that it costs at least 20% more to achieve a decent standard of living in London, compared to the rest of the UK, and in some cases it can be as high as 50%. This is mainly due to the high costs of housing, transport and childcare.*

The Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University has recently looked deeply into whether the London weighting system goes far enough. In research funded by the charity Trust for London, they showed that the London Weighting needs to be about £7,700 per year in Inner London and over £6,200 in Outer London to cover the additional minimum cost of living in the capital.”

(Source: )

To find out more join the Barnet Cost of Living Crisis UNISON meeting is on Tuesday 26 April 2022 at 6 pm.

Meeting ID: 857 4603 5877

Passcode: 801 103



Cost of Living Crisis meeting 26 April 2022















Emergency Cost of Living facts

Don’t let anyone tell you there is no money

  • UK Big Six energy firms made more than £1bn in profit
  • £40bn profits for BP and Shell
  • Petrol and diesel prices are the highest ever and it’s likely to get higher
  • The worst financial squeeze in 60 years, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Food prices rising
  • Food banks usage increasing
  • Rent rises, council tax increases, mortgages rising, water bills increasing.

All of this and yet

  • MPs are getting a £2,200 pay rise when most of our members are only getting 1.75%
  • The Government gave £37 billion for the Covid Test and Trace.
  • The Government were handing out million-pound contracts to their mates during the pandemic
  • Finally, the Government worked from home whilst many of our frontline members had to go into work without a vaccine in order to keep public services running.
  • And let’s not forget the wine and cheese parties they were having when all of our members were risking their lives keeping public services running on poverty wages.

National Pay Bargaining

Negotiations have started for the National Pay campaign. More news on the campaign will be shared with members.

BUT Barnet UNISON believes we can’t wait, we need to act now.

But we need a Barnet UNISON Cost of Living Crisis Pay claim now.

Barnet UNISON will shortly be starting negotiations with the employer on some changes to Unified Reward Terms and Conditions. It is important that members attend our UNISON meetings on the negotiations.

The next Barnet UNISON Cost of Living Crisis meeting is taking place on Tuesday 26 April 6- 7 pm.

Please see details below for joining the meeting.

Meeting ID: 857 4603 5877

Passcode: 801 103

Election Time: “Who has the back of Barnet UNISON members?”

As we approach Council elections, our members are asking if there will be a political change here at Barnet Council and if so, what it would mean for them.

It is now 20 years since Labour handed back power to the Tories in Barnet Council. Back then it was a very different time, and the Tories were not keen on outsourcing. They appeared to enjoy running the services themselves.

Things changed around 2008.

This is when easyCouncil was presented as the future for delivering Council services. This approach was promoted by a succession of consultants who were richly rewarded with lucrative contracts. It would be fair to say Barnet Council was “consultant dependent”, no decisions could be made without first paying a consultant 100’s of thousands of pounds of public money.

“The One Barnet Consultant’s bill hits £6.3 million”

Easycouncil became One Barnet, which enabled the mass outsourcing sausage machine to churn out report after report, all extolling the virtues of outsourcing and undermining the hard work of the in-house staff.

Fast forward 14 years and there appears to be growing anger towards the Government over the alleged breaches of Covid rules at its heart. There is even speculation that previously safe Tory Councils could be at risk.

If there was political change in Barnet would it be a Labour or Lib- Labour Coalition?

And if so what would that mean for our outsourced members all of whom are desperate to return back under direct management of Barnet Council?

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for NSL the Parking Services contractor?

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for Capita and the two contracts?

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for the Catering Contractor ISS? 

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for Barnet Education Learning Skills (BELS)?

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for Housing workers working for Barnet Homes? 

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for 600 care workers working for Your Choice Barnet?

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for the cleaning contractor Norse? 

What will a change in political leadership mean for our Barnet UNISON members working for the security contractor Blue Nine? 

All the above services used to be provided by Barnet Council and many of the outsourced services are frontline services run by key workers clapped as heroes during the pandemic.

UNISON policy is for all these services to be run in-house and that they will publicly support Barnet UNISON to try to campaign to bring these services back under direct control of the Council.

The other big concern for Council workers and the low paid is PAY. 

The National Pay Campaign was a failure and whilst UNISON begins the work to address the massive deficit between the union and its membership nationally what does this mean now?

Our low paid members are facing serious financial hardship and do not have the luxury of waiting for another national pay campaign.

What is low pay in our depot based Street Scene Services ? 

A Street Cleansing operative earns between £11.31 to £12.03 and hour annual salary £22,575  

A Bin worker loader or a Gardener earns between £11.82 to £12.47 and hour annual salary £ 23,400 

A Passenger Transport Driver, Gardener Driver, Town Keeper earns between £12.24 to £12.91 and hour annual salary £24,245

A coach escort, skilled gardener driver, tractor driver earns between £12.69 to £13.39 and hour annual salary £25,128

A LGV driver operative, LGV Tractor drive earns between £13.15 to £14.12 and hour annual salary £26,508

A Bin worker driver earns between £14.12 to £15.72 and hour annual salary £29,502 


Barnet UNISON had its first Emergency Cost of Living Crisis meeting on 30 March 2022. The meeting agreed to progress the claim and bring the full proposal to a vote of the second Cost of Living Crisis meeting on Tuesday 26 April at 6 pm.  

What will a change in political leadership mean for our low paid Barnet UNISON members working for Barnet Council? 

The question on the lips of these workers is which political party will publicly join UNISON in advocating the return of outsourced services back into Barnet Council and to meet to discuss how to end pay poverty for low paid workers?



UNISON Official Ballot is on for “ASSIST” Workers to take Strike Action


UNISON is balloting the ASSIST workers this week the result of the ballot will be announced 16 March.

  • ASSIST provides this vital support to some 5,000 residents in Barnet and in Brent.
  • For the lack of £160,000 a year the service is on notice that it is to be outsourced. UNISON has agreed to back these workers and will ballot all of them for official strike action.
  • The Assist service, amongst other things, provides and maintains equipment to 5,000 mainly elderly residents of Barnet.

The most common of these items is the “lifeline” equipment which a resident would use if they fell. The resident would pull a cord or press a button on a pendant alarm which activates in the call centre and a decision is taken about whether someone from ASSIST needs to contact emergency services, a relative or go out themselves to emergencies. This support often makes the difference between someone being able to continue living at home or having to go into residential care.

During the Covid Pandemic the ASSIST service was rightly described as the “4th Emergency Service” by senior managers in The Barnet Group.

“Last Autumn we had the debacle of 74 care workers being given redundancy due to the closure of Apthorp Care Centre and now this! This service is so cheap to run and so valuable to thousands of residents of Barnet – it beggars belief that once again the lives of key workers are being thrown up in the air as soon as the crisis is over. We want Barnet Council and The Barnet Group which are essentially one and the same thing, to do the right thing and find a way forward which benefits residents and keeps a valued service in Barnet.” (Helen Davies, Branch Chair Barnet UNISON.)

“Keyworkers who were rightly praised by their managers are now rewarded for their hard work with outsourcing. At a time when Barnet Council are bringing services back in-house from Capita how can this valued service not been treated the same. If Human Resources, Finance, Recruitment, are needed back in-house why isn’t the ASSIST service being given the same treatment? I call upon Barnet Council to take back this service in-house and provide peace of mind for the 5,000 residents and the inspirational ASSIST workers who care so much about the service they provide.” (John Burgess Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON).

“The Assist workers have the full backing of Greater London UNISON for your dispute. You provide a vital service which enables vulnerable people to stay in their homes safe in the knowledge someone will respond quickly in an emergency. It’s a no brainer that your service benefits and supports the work of social care and the NHS. We want you to win and will support you all the way.” (Tracey Dalling Regional Secretary Greater London UNISON.)


Note to Editors: Contact details: Helen Davies Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email:


  1. For more details on the ASSIST service and Barnet UNISON response click on our link below Barnet UNISON Response to Barnet Homes ASSIST Proposal

Street Scene Pension Surgery Tuesday 22 February 2022

Barnet UNISON have negotiated the provision of a Pension Surgery for staff working in Street Scene on Tuesday 22 February 2022.

The surgery will take place in the depot online in a room booked in the main office.

Jakub UNISON Street Scene Convenor will be available to accompany members.

You will receive an email and a memo from your supervisor as to how to book a meeting.

Surgeries will be from:

6- 7.30 am

11 to 1 pm

For further assistance please email Barnet UNISON on or leave a message on 0208 359 2088


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