Breaking News: Barnet UNISON members HGV drivers Recruitment & Retention ballot result.

Dear Barnet UNISON member,

Firstly , thank you for completing this ballot. It is important that your employer understands how important this payment is for you.

Please see below the result of our internal ballot.

What happens next?

Barnet UNISON has already had a brief meeting last week with the Director to advise of our internal ballot.

We agreed to pass on the results of the ballot to senior management and will look to begin negotiations towards the end of October.




Breaking News: 100% vote by Mental Health Social Workers for strike action

North London Business Park, New Southgate.
Unison members go on strike over pay and conditions at Barnet Council.

On Friday 1 September 2023, Barnet UNISON notified Barnet Council Chief Executive that Mental Health Social Workers voted 100% for strike action with a 78.95% turnout.

The strike ballot is in relation to the chronic staffing issues across frontline mental health social work teams in Barnet Council.

Barnet Council has had a long and proud history of Mental Health Social Work pioneering the crisis intervention model in the 1970’s long before Care in the Community legislation.

Barnet Mental Health Social work teams were sought after workplaces full of experienced social workers, but sadly there has been a long drawn-out neglect towards mental health social work which has led to this current crisis. The demise of Mental Health Social Work Teams can be traced back to Barnet Council’s obsession with the “One Barnet mass outsourcing approach” to service delivery. The focus was on commissioning rather than delivering.

The final nail in the coffin for Mental Health Social Work Teams was in 2016 when Barnet Tories agreed the senior management proposal to delete social work posts and replace them with non social work qualified roles. Barnet UNISON in our report: “Unsafe & Unsustainable” UNISON response to Mental Health Restructure 2016” warned the Council of the consequences of pursuing this ideological change. However, as often, when we submit reports we were ignored.

“This result confirms the strength of feeling amongst our members that the offer submitted to staff is unacceptable. Family social workers are, as a minimum receiving 15% with other social workers receiving 20% or 25%. Staff feel undervalued, insulted, and angry. They are working at the coal face of Mental Health services. A service that has been grossly underfunded by the Tories for 13 years. The levels of stress in the workplace are off the scale. Social workers are voting with their feet. During the period of the strike ballot we lost another social worker who chose to leave for a less stressful job in a university and more money. If the Council doesn’t act now to this crisis, then more staff are likely to leave and that will deepen the crisis within the workplace and impact on the services to service users.” John Burgess Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.


Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email:


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

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


Breaking News: Update: Barnet Council bring back the Kosher Kitchen Service.  

Earlier today Barnet UNISON emailed the Leader of Barnet Council to instruct senior officers of the Council to make plans for Barnet Council to step in as the employer of last resort.

The Kosher Kitchen is owned by Barnet Council, there are 41 staff willing and ready to continue to provide a service to the children.

This would ensure that all Stage 2 children in the following schools:

  1. Hasmonean Primary,
  2. Beis Yaakov Primary,
  3. Pardes House Primary,
  4. Menorah Primary,
  5. Sacks Morasha Primary,
  6. Rimon Primary,
  7. Mathilda Marks Kennedy,
  8. Beit Shvidler Primary,
  9. Nancy Reuben,
  10. Etz Chaim,
  11. IJDS,
  12. Menorah Foundation,
  13. Hasmonean High School MAT (2 schools).

will have access to free school meals from 1 September 2023.

There are only 5 weeks until the end of term it is important for our members and the schools that this matter is resolved.

Barnet UNISON meanwhile is busy working on appeals for our members who have had their redundancy pay claims turned down by the government.


Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email:


Breaking News: Sacked catering workers have had redundancy claims turned down!

Update on the “Barnet 41” Kosher Catering Service workers

Help our Barnet Schools Kosher Kitchen Workers


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.


Brief History of Barnet Council grading structures.

Back in 2016 the Council moved away from how most London Councils pay their staff and agreed to a major change in how it would pay Barnet staff. Previously staff would be on a grade which would have several increments contained within the grade. A member of staff would automatically move up each year until they reached the top of their grade.

The current system is less transparent. Staff are still on grades but there are no increments. The only way staff can progress is through the annual performance appraisal scheme.

Each year, depending on the outcome of their performance appraisal, staff will be issued with a percentage increase of 0, 1, 2.25, 3 %, which process will continue until the top of the grade is reached.

UNISON, in negotiations before the current scheme, warned that linking performance to pay grade increases would create a problem when staff reach the top of the grade. Our warning was ignored, and staff are consequently upset when they realise that no matter how good their appraisal there is no financial increase because they are at the top of the grade,

What happens if I am at the top of my grade?

This is a question which is being increasingly asked as more and more members reach the top of their grade.

The simple answer is that you remain at the top until there is a change.

A change could be that your job description is out of date so would need to be updated and agreed on before going to a Job Evaluation Panel. The Panel would evaluate the new job description and produce a grade. The outcome could be that it goes up or down or remains the same. There is an opportunity for staff to Appeal the outcome of a job evaluation panel.


Sometimes when a restructure takes place job descriptions are reviewed and if they change they are subject to job evaluation.

Change is coming.

Barnet UNISON is in talks with the Council about a new scheme. When the negotiations are complete the new scheme will be announced to the workforce.

National Pay

The other way that staff can obtain an increase in Pay is through National Pay negotiations. Barnet Council staff are subject to National negotiation on Pay each year. The outcome of the negotiations is applied to the grades as from the 1 April of that year.



Barnet UNISON National Pay newsletter

Last year, in the worst Cost of Living Crisis in 75 years, hundreds of thousands of workers – BT workers, teachers, lecturers, lawyers, nurses, ambulance workers, junior doctors, Border Force workers, bus drivers, rail workers, postal workers, tube workers, cleaners, admin call centre workers – all said the same thing:

“enough is enough!”

They followed the advice of their trade unions and voted YES for strike action on Pay.

2022 saw the biggest increase in strikes in a generation and the reason was the same for all workers: the system is broken. Most workers can no longer afford to live. In UNISON many of our members are low paid and are unable to survive on poverty pay. We hear so many stories of families where parents are missing meals to feed their children, where families are unable to heat their homes and where increasing numbers of members are now regularly using food banks.

Many members are trying to cope by having more than one job.

The sad and brutal fact is that every public sector worker is now working one day a week for FREE!

Instead of the Government putting money in the hands of the workers, workers are donating their hard work one day a week for FREE!


You can view our latest pay newsletter here




Former Barnet Council run Kosher Kitchen Service is closed without notice.

Barnet UNISON is sad to report that the Kosher Kitchen catering service which after decades of providing school meals was closed on Friday 5 May 2023.

40 catering workers were asked to attend a meeting last Friday at short notice where they were informed that the service was closing today.

UNISON has been sent the HR1 form which sets out the details of the redundancy.

The reason given for issuing redundancy is “insolvency.”

In response to this news Barnet UNISON has asked Barnet Council to take back the Kosher Kitchen service in order that catering services to the schools can continue.

We are hearing news that many of the schools had no warning the service would close, and no one knows who will be providing school meals this week.

Our members are distraught they had no idea that their jobs were at risk. All 40 staff were told to sign on this week.

In the meantime, we are arranging urgent meetings with our members.

Barnet UNISON is clear that the Kosher Kitchen service must remain open in Barnet.

“The One Barnet/Easy Council mass outsourcing policy has failed the Kosher Kitchen Service. It has failed to ensure schools meals for the children who relied on it. This is a service with a long tradition of providing kosher meals for pupils. Barnet Council must step up and save this service to ensure the pupils at the schools have a reliable excellent service going forward.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON



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



The Kosher Kitchen Service was outsourced by Barnet Council in 2016 to ISS.

In 2021 and 2022, the Kosher Kitchen service including staff was TUPED to Signature Education.

On 1 March 2023 Signature Education TUPED the Kosher Kitchen service including staff to London Kosher Caterer.

The Kosher Kitchen Service used to provide a service for the following schools:

Hasmonean Primary School, Beis Yaakov Primary School, Pardes House Primary School, Menorah Primary School, Sacks Morasha Primary School, Rimon Primary School, Mathilda Marks Kennedy, Beit Shvidler Primary School, Nancy Reuben, Etz Chaim, IJDS, Menorah Foundation, Hasmonean High School MAT (2 schools), Kosher CPU.




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

North London Business Park, New Southgate. 08/07/15 Anne-Marie Sanderson.

Earlier this month Barnet UNISON met with senior managers in Adult Social Care to try to secure an agreement as to how to deal with the chronic and dangerous shortage of frontline Mental Health social workers across the two Mental Health social work teams.

Barnet UNISON presented evidence of unsafe staffing levels across the two teams where, in both teams, over 50% of the workforce are newly qualified and almost 40% are agency workers, most of whom have barely 2 years’ experience of working in Barnet. The situation has been brewing over the last 9 months and has reached a point where staff are demanding the Council must act to both try to retain the existing staff and recruit and retain new and experienced staff.

Barnet UNISON has been asking for the implementation of the Councils Recruitment and Retention Policy (RRP) 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.

Unfortunately, the response from senior management has been disappointing and, whilst an agreement to meet again soon was made, it appears they are underestimating the scale of the problem and the impact it is having on the morale of the workforce.

On 16 March 2023, Barnet UNISON made a formal request for a JNCC meeting at which we will table our trades dispute over RRP. Barnet UNISON has stated we are open to negotiation, but time is running out. The impact on morale and the health and wellbeing of our members working in Mental Health Services is paramount.

“I really don’t know what they are looking at when they look at the staffing levels for the two frontline Mental Health Social work teams. Our local reps explained concisely the levels of stress and anxiety being felt by the workforce and the inevitable consequences if the Council don’t act now. At the time of our meeting two senior social workers had already handed in their notice, yet it did not feel that management understood the seriousness of this news for the remaining staff. If the Council don’t work with us, I can see another exodus of staff. In the meeting I informed the management that we carried out an indicative ballot whereby 100% voted for strike action if the Council did not agree to RRP. Its nearly two weeks since we last met and I have had no approaches from the Council to meet.” (John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON)


“Industrial action looms as employers offer is yet another pay cut for School staff and Council workers.”

Last year the employer made a lump sum payment in London which equated to £2,229, which still worked out as another pay cut for all members. This is important to note as we are still in the worst Cost of Living Crisis in 75 years and there are no signs of any improvement on the horizon.

This year the Trade Unions submitted a claim for RPI plus 2% which works out at 12.7% across all grades.

The Employer has responded with the same amount as last year which is £2,229 to those workers up to spinal column 42 and 3.8% to those above (which impacts Grades K and L).

This is another Pay Cut for our members. Last year when we consulted Barnet UNISON members over the same offer 89% voted to reject and demand an industrial strike ballot. We had the highest turnout of UNISON votes across UNISON members in other London Councils.

We are now waiting to hear what UNISON National negotiators have to say about the offer.

In the meantime, we want as many of our members to view the employers offer and understand the difference between the Employer’s offer and UNISON’s demand.

The table below provides details of the employers offer including a comparison with the UNISON claim for 12.7%

To help UNISON members understand the offer and how it compares with UNISON’s demand please find below an explanation of the table above.

Column A = Lists Barnet Council Grades. If you don’t know your grade contact your line manager.

Column B & C = These columns provide the detail of the bottom and top of the current grade.

Column D & E = These columns provide the detail as to how the current grade changes when the employers’ offer is applied.

Column F & G = These columns show in percentages what the employers’ offer means to each grade.

Column H & I = These columns represent the increase to the grade if the UNISON proposal was implemented. As you can see it is higher than the

employers’ offer.

Column J & K = These columns provide the actual financial loss for each grade when the employers’ offer is compared with the Trade Unions’ claim for 12.7%.

Column L & M = These columns provide the actual percentage pay cut for each grade when the employers’ offer is compared with the Trade Unions’ claim for 12.7%.


Any questions please email



Injuries at work – your rights explained

Injuries at work – your rights explained

Gerard Stilliard, head of personal injury claims at Thompsons Solicitors, outlines how you can access legal support if you have been injured at work.

The best employers recognise that proper health and safety is vital and take steps to ensure they keep their employees as safe as possible in the workplace.

At Thompsons, we see first-hand the devastating impact on workers and their families when health and safety is compromised – usually when management is under pressure to cut costs. That is why, as a proud partner of UNISON, we work with your union to actively promote the benefits of union membership and support you and your families with legal claims.

Your employer’s ‘duty of care’

Your employer owes you a duty of care, to protect your health, safety and welfare while at work. This include providing a safe work environment. They should:

  • Follow health and safety legislation
  • Conduct adequate risk assessments
  • Provide you with health and safety training
  • Supply sufficient PPE
  • Ensure equipment is in safe working order and regularly maintained
  • Reduce risk as much as reasonably possible.

If your employer has failed in their duty of care, and you have been injured at work as a result, you may be able to bring a compensation claim.

Making a compensation claim

The law requires employers to avoid risks entirely if this is possible and, if not, to minimise the risk of injury at work to the lowest level ‘reasonably practicable’.

Where employers fail in their obligation to protect you, UNISON and Thompsons will support your injury claim all the way to trial if necessary, but most cases settle well before they reach the doors of the court.

Giving you the best chance of success

To ensure your compensation claim for an accident at work is as strong as possible, you should try to:

  • Report the accident and your injuries to your employer
  • Record the accident in your workplace accident book
  • Take photographs of the place where the accident happened
  • Photograph any visible injuries
  • Find out the names and contact details for any witnesses
  • Keep a record of any visits to the doctors and treatments received, including receipts for any injury-related expenses.

The UNISON Legal Service gives you access to independent specialist legal advice from lawyers who are experts in their field. Using the union legal service is not only free, ensuring you receive 100% of any compensation awarded, it also increases the chances of your claim succeeding, because your lawyers can work with your local and national union representatives. You won’t get that level of compensation or support from any other law firm.

Here’s how our specialist teams can help

You can contact our experts for free advice and representation on:


Members’ families are also covered for:

  • Personal injury away from work, on holiday or on the roads
  • Special terms for medical negligence and wills.


Accessing support from Thompsons Solicitors

Thompsons Solicitors has been standing with unions and fighting for workers’ rights for more than 100 years.

Since we started in 1921, we have always refused to act for employers or insurers, only ever acting for the injured and mistreated. Every year, we secure millions of pounds in compensation for union members injured or mistreated by their employer.

For more information, visit Thompsons Solicitors’ website or call us directly on 0800 0 224 224.

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