The Barnet Strikers dispute in 90 seconds
Meet Patrick: Barnet UNISON Assistant Branch Secretary for The Barnet Group
This is Patrick doing what he always does speaking up for his members.
Patrick is a long-standing Barnet UNISON member and the Assistant Branch Secretary for our members working for the Barnet Group. Patrick works in social care as a mobile warden.
Anyone who has met Patrick will say that he cares passionately for all the members he represents and the services that they provide.
Last year Patrick represented our 70 pus care workers who were made redundant on 31 October following the decision by Barnet Council to close Apthorp care home. You can read more on this closure on our web site here https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/28/8234/
It would be fair to say that this mass dismissal of care workers had a profound impact on Patrick who sat in with each one of them. Some of whom Patrick would have known for over 25 years.
More recently Patrick has been representing members working for Barnet Council Housing Repairs team who will shortly be starting strike action on Monday 17 October 2022.
You can read the details of the dispute on our web site here https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/09/20/barnet-council-housing-repairs-workers-100-vote-for-all-out-strike-action/
On Friday 30 September 2022, the employer The Barnet Group issued a statement cutting his facility time by 40%.
Patrick is committed to his members and will not let this stop him from trying to represent his members.
There are many people, not just Barnet UNISON members, but Barnet residents and the wider trade union movement who all respect Patrick for the work he does for his members.
1. Breaking News: Barnet UNISON obtain ground-breaking support from UNISONs National Industrial Action Committee (IAC
2. Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers 100 % vote for all out strike action
3. Breaking News: Official Strike ballot begins for Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers
4. Barnet Responsive Repairs workers referred to UNISON’s Industrial Action Committee
5. Barnet Council Repairs Operatives 100% turnout and 100% vote for strike action.
6. Barnet Council’s Company Refuse to Show Compassion for Injured Worker https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/07/13/barnet-councils-company-refuse-to-show-compassion-for-injured-worker/
Barnet UNISON begins two indicative strike ballots.
Barnet UNISON attended a JNCC meeting with The Barnet Group on Wednesday 7 July 2022.
We submitted a full list of agenda items and made clear that if a resolution was not agreed at the meeting, we would have to register a trade dispute. A number of interventions took place before the meeting in order to try and avoid these disputes, but they were unsuccessful.
As of Thursday 14 July 2022, Barnet UNISON has begun two indicative strike ballots of two sets of workers:
· Council Housing repairs workers
· Outreach Barnet workers
If the ballots are in favour of strike action Barnet UNISON will approach UNISON London Region to begin the official strike ballot.
In the meantime, the door remains open for the employer to reach a resolution with Barnet UNISON that our members would accept.
Please see the list of the trade disputes
We noted the intention of paying sick pay to all workers in repairs by giving them the opportunity to transition to a new contract 1st August. We noted this intention had been signalled in talks with the trade unions since last Autumn. A colleague is currently off sick following an accident at work and in spite of there being light duties he could have done, he was sent home with no sick pay as per his contract. We noted the offer of a loan as a remedy but highlight the difficulty in low paid workers being able to pay back any loans. As we are so close to these colleagues being on the new contract we were looking for a resolution which would put money into this worker’s account to relieve his difficulty. As a new starter this worker would have had access to sick pay. The treatment he has had does not recognise his dedication to his job, residents and other colleagues. He worked throughout the pandemic.
We discussed bringing his contract offer forward. We discussed the possibility of making a payment in any other way. We failed to agree a way forward.
Dispute: failure to agree adequate support an employee during their sickness.
2. Outreach Barnet
We noted discrepancy in pay between new starters and staff who were TUPE transferred across in 2019. New starters are paid significantly higher (around 10% higher) than the TUPE’d staff. We noted that the message this gives longstanding staff is that they are worth less than the new starters and also noted that if all of them resigned from their role then they would have to be hired at the new rate of pay. TBG is undertaking an exercise to re-evaluate the roles of the TUPE’d staff but this work may only be completed by the end of July. At the time of the Emergency JNCC we did not receive a commitment to backdate any such re-evaluation to 1st July (the date the new starters begin).
Dispute: failure to agree to aligning the wages of workers in Outreach Barnet with a backdate to 1st July.
3. COVID payments
We noted LBB has not changed its arrangements around COVID. With the exception of care home staff all other staff in TBG have been told effectively COVID is a sickness like any other and will be treated as such in relation to sick pay and absence management monitoring. We note TBG is not saying there is currently a significant problem with COVID absence. We note the rise in COVID infections generally and the prevalence of Long COVID which is now recognised as a disability. We were not able to secure a commitment to simply follow LBB policy in this regard.
Dispute: failure to agree to revert back to the sick pay and other associated arrangements with respect of the management of COVID in existence prior to July 1st.
4. Payment for Home Testing
We note the home testing and registering for COVID regime to which residential care workers are subject. We are looking for this to be recognised as work time (much the same way as workers who have to take out a vehicle for work purposes and do their vehicle checks and are paid as work time). We have suggested this would total the equivalent of 2.5hrs per week, per worker. This has not been agreed.
Dispute: failure to agree to recognise and remunerate COVID testing for workers in care homes.
BarnetUNISON provides update on 8 #CostOfLivingCrisis claims & support for #RMT
The Tories Are Out Of Barnet!
To quote CeCe Peniston: “Finally!” (For those of us young enough to remember popular music of the 90s) https://youtu.be/xk8mm1Qmt-Y
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.
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 email@example.com or leave a message on 0208 359 2088
National Pay, Unified Reward, We Are Barnet “levelling up” negotiations 2 November update
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0208 359 2088
Another depot worker rejecting the derisory 1.75% pay offer
Update: 93 Covid heroes face the sack
Monday 23 August 2021
Care staff working at Apthorp residential and day care service were told last Friday 20 August 2021 that Barnet Council had made the decision to close Apthorp.
There are approximately 93 care staff working at this location.
Apthorp provides services for vulnerable older people.
Apthorp was originally owned by Barnet Council until it was sold off with 10 other Council residential homes and day services to Catalyst Housing who contracted Fremantle Trust to take over the Council care workforce.
The current Apthorp buildings were part of a deal which meant Catalyst Housing were given all 11 real estate locations to develop for themselves and in return they would provide modern state of the art residential and day care services on four of the sites.
Only three were built.
What were the staff been told?
In a letter from their employer it states:
“the Council and Your Choice Barnet have taken the decision to vacate Apthorp Care Home by 31 October 2021. You will be aware that we have been carrying out some fire safety works in the building. Whilst all emergency works have been carried out, further surveys have taken place which highlight that significant levels of repairs are needed. The scope of works required in Apthorp Care Centre are extensive and would be extremely disruptive to residents of the home.”
At the meeting some staff responded to this devastating news by claiming that moving vulnerable residents from Apthorp to another home at this time will result in blood on someone’s hands because some of the residents won’t react well to the move.
There is documented evidence of the serious and sometimes fatal risks when moving vulnerable and elderly residents out of their homes. What is worrying about this plan is that Barnet Council are attempting to fast track the move of residents in less than two months which does not provide ample time to prepare and support vulnerable residents.
“Two decades to run down a service, wasted millions of public monies and now 93 Covid heroes are to be sacked.
The world is upside down, seriously it is less than 12 months since our members were trying to care for vulnerable residents struggling to deal with Covid. There was no vaccine back then and the lack of PPE was an issue for members who were risking their own lives and those of their own family every day they went into work.
I won’t forget the fear in the voices of care workers as Covid was letting rip across Care homes. I can never begin to understand the terror our members were going through every day and all for the magnificent sum of £8.72 per hour! So here we are now August 2021 and our members have been told their workplace is closing, through no fault of their own.
Barnet UNISON will be supporting every single one of our members at this time we will also be seeking to find out who made this decision and why, this is not over. Keep watching this space…….”
(John Burgess Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON).
“The workers at the care home and day centre will have their lives thrown up in the air some few months after banners at the care home proclaimed them as heroes for how they dealt with the pandemic. There has been absolutely NO engagement with staff, residents, their families or the trade unions at any point to consider how Apthorp could be made viable. The cornerstone of activism for people with disabilities – nothing about us without us – has been utterly and completely ignored.
The elderly and the workforce are ignored and presumably they are just furniture to be moved around as The Great and The Good see fit. They are not worthy of any consideration. They have received no apology for this shocking turn of affairs.”
(Helen Davies Branch Chair Barnet UNISON.)
“We know the Care workers are ‘fit for purpose’ – they worked through the most unprecedented times in living history giving care to the most vulnerable in our community – in many cases end of life care to the clients they obviously love while putting themselves and their loved ones in danger to deliver care for their patients.
Their reward? The Barnet Group have announced their plan to make 93 Covid Heroes redundant. To sack the very workers that a few months ago were described as ‘Heroes’ because the company they work for obviously didn’t complete any meaningful due diligence when transferring staff and buildings from Fremantle, begs the question as to who should be facing redundancy.” (Patrick Hunter Barnet UNISON Convenor Barnet Homes.)
“The planned closure of the Apthorpe care home is the latest Adult Care policy decision that will have a major impact on service users, job losses for care workers and another policy decision that will ultimately cost council taxpayers dearly.
It marks 22 years of knee-jerk decison-making by Barnet Council which havve been devoid of economic and social impact analysis and cost benefit analysis since Barnet’s care homes were privatised to a Catalyst/Fremantle ‘partnership’.
Some partnership when eleven homes left the Council and only three return twenty years later. So what has happened to the land of the other eight homes?”
(Dexter Whitfield, Director, European Services Strategy Unit)
Note to Editors: Contact details: Helen Davies Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: Helen.Davies@barnetunison.org.uk