Change in pension contributions – explanation below .

Several members contacted our branch this month as they noticed a change in the employer contributions.

The branch contacted the Council and requested that they put out an announcement to the workforce explaining why this has happened and what it means to each member.

Below is the statement sent out in an email to all staff. We are conscious that not all staff have access to a work email, which is why we are publishing the statement in full on our web site.



Change in the employer contribution to the Local Government Pension Scheme

As of this month, there has been a reduction in the amount of pension contribution that the council will pay into the Barnet Pension Fund (part of the LGPS). This does not affect your pensions benefits in any way.

The pensions team have provided a detailed update about the Pensions Fund and why the employer contribution has reduced.

You may have noticed in your payslip that the amount of Employer Contributions towards the Barnet Pension Fund has reduced.  This does not affect your pension benefits in any way.  Pension benefits, and your contributions to your pension, are set according to a formula.  The council pays in an amount to ensure that there is enough money in the pension fund to cover all of these benefits, and this amount is recalculated from time to time.

Understanding the Pension Fund Financial Background

It is important to understand the financial background to the Pension Fund.  The Barnet Pension Fund (the “Fund”) funding position has improved to a very strong financial position due to increased long-term interest rates. This means that the Fund expects higher returns on the investments it holds.

This also means that the Fund is expected to need less money from employers like the Council to fund the benefits promised.

Despite this improvement in funding, the Council had been paying around £6 million a year to address a “funding shortfall”, which was determined on 31 March 2022, when the contribution rate was set.  Crucially, the Council had been paying more than necessary to address the “shortfall” that existed in March 2022.

The Actuary, an independent specialist advisor to the Fund, has determined that this shortfall no longer exists at the present time – indeed on 31 December 2023, the Actuary estimated the Fund was 123% funded.

Council’s Financial Situation

 As you will be aware, and like many local authorities, the Council is facing significant financial challenges, prioritising resources to protect essential services. Due to current financial pressures, the Council requested to contribute only what is required to address the funding shortfall identified on 31 March 2022 (rather than more than was what was required).


Pension Committee’s Decision Making

The Pension Committee, composed of elected members, carefully considered whether it was appropriate to review the Council’s pension contributions over four meetings. Expert advice from legal professionals confirmed the legality of the review.

In February, the Pensions Fund Committee approved the Council’s request for a reduction to their contribution from 28.4% to 20.4% of salaries (i.e. an 8% reduction) over a two-year period, starting from April 2024. This contribution reflects the amount required to address the funding shortfall on 31 March 2022 and does not take into account the significant improvement of the Funding of the Pension Fund since then.


Impact on member contributions

Individual member contributions will not change.  LGPS pension contributions are set by regulations and no Local Authority has the power to alter them.  This means that the recent decision to reduce the Council’s employer contribution rate will have no effect on individual member contributions.


Impact on member benefits

Member benefits are a statutory obligation set out in the statutory regulations governing the Local Government Pension Scheme and therefore cannot be changed by the Council and remain fully protected.   Pension scheme member benefits are therefore not impacted by any adjustment to the Council’s contribution rate.


Monitoring the Position

If the financial position of the Fund deteriorates significantly, such as through decreased interest rates or poor performance of the Fund’s assets, the Pension Fund Committee has the power to require the Council to increase its contributions to previous levels. As part of the agreement, and to protect the Fund, the Pension Fund Committee requires the Council to demonstrate that it is budgeting for the higher level of contribution within its long-term financial planning. The Fund will also have another full valuation in any event in March 2025.



Barnet UNISON: How to access your Barnet Council Pension details online.

Below is a message from Barnet Council Pension Provider West Yorkshire Pension Fund (WYPF). The aim of the advice below is to help members register to view their Pension details online. Once you are registered you can see all your Pension details. UNISON recommends that UNISON members in the scheme to register using the advice below.

If you have any issues registering, please contact Barnet UNISON at

Portal Available for Barnet Pension Fund Members.

Are you aware of the MyPension member portal for members of the Barnet Fund?

This portal (offered by the West Yorkshire Pension Fund) will enable you to view important pension documents such as your annual benefit statement and you will also be able to update your pension records directly and complete an expression of wish form online. You can also run online estimates of how much your Barnet Pension may be at future retirement dates.

If you have not done so already, you are able to register for the portal at .

If you would like help in registering (which should only take 5-10 minutes), Jim Nokku from the Barnet Pensions Team will be in Room 3.5 in Colindale on 28 March to assist you with registration. To book a 10 minute slot with Jim, please send an email to and we will book you in.




Bringing Services Home – Barnet UNISON campaign


Barnet UNISON is proud to announce that we are promoting UNISON Bringing Services Home campaign.

As a branch we have had more than our share of outsourcing. The easy Council experiment was a spectacular failure. It cost more money (yes, we told them it would!) and it did not lead to better services.

In May 2022, Barnet Labour Party won the election with a massive majority and one of their priorities was “Review of contracted out services, in the context of the new administration’s aspiration to bring privatised services back in-house.”

Last year Barnet Labour Party brought back one of the big contracts with Capita and other services on the other Capita contract have been coming back in-house.

The Council is going through a period of healing from the badly advised outsourcing ideology which dominated our Council for over a decade.

Today Barnet UNISON has written to all senior council officers responsible for outsourced contracts seeking a meeting to discuss how and when they are going to review the outsourced service.

Barnet UNISON also want to deal with the Ethnicity Pay Gap which the outsourcing easy Council ideology promoted by always securing the outsourcing option for services which are largely provided by Black workers e.g.

  1. NSL: Parking Services
  2. ISS: Catering Services
  3. Your Choice Barnet: Social Care services
  4. Norse: Cleaning services
  5. Blue 9: Security Services.

All the above services were outsourced under the Tories.

Barnet UNISON positively supports the statement of UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“Black workers make a vital contribution to the health and care sector but are all too often at the bottom of the pay scale as care workers, porters, healthcare assistants and catering staff. They frequently face shocking discrimination, threatening their health, job security and life chances.”

This why Barnet UNISON is determined to work with the Labour Administration to bring back these services into the Council thus enabling real life meaningful changes for a workforce that is often invisible and often low paid and without occupational sick pay.



Meet Patrick: Barnet UNISON Assistant Branch Secretary for The Barnet Group

Meet Patrick

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

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

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.

Solidarity Patrick


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

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

1. Repairs

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.


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.


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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