***Updated: Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers strike starts Monday 17 October 2022.

Update: Agency staff will not be used to break our strike please read our updated Press Release here

More BREAKING NEWS! Barnet UNISON Repairs Dispute

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/10/14/more-breaking-news-barnet-unison-repairs-dispute/

3 simple actions supporters can do for our #BarnetStrikers

UNISON President Andrea Egan

 

Dear Supporter

If you are shocked at the treatment of our member who was injured at work and refused sick pay during the worst cost of living crisis in 75 years, then you can help our campaign

We have three requests

1. Sign this email statement.

Barnet Trades Council have set up an email which will be sent to the three key decision makers:

Barry Rawlings Leader of Barnet Council

John Hooton Chief Executive of Barnet Council

Tim Mulvenna Chief Executive The Barnet Group

Click on the link below and follow the instructions

https://forms.office.com/r/EdEZkAh7Cv

2. Visit our social media sites and leave messages of support

 

3. Send message of support to Barnet UNISON at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

For more information about the background to our dispute check our the following articles on our web site

Background:

1. Breaking News: Barnet UNISON obtain ground-breaking support from UNISONs National Industrial Action Committee (IAC).

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/09/30/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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/09/20/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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/08/25/breaking-news-official-strike-ballot-begins-for-barnet-council-housing-repairs-workers/

4. Barnet Responsive Repairs workers referred to UNISON’s Industrial Action Committee

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/08/05/barnet-responsive-repairs-workers-referred-to-unisons-industrial-action-committee/

5. Barnet Council Repairs Operatives 100% turnout and 100% vote for strike action.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/07/21/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 Council Housing Repairs workers 100 % vote for all out strike action

20 September 2022.

What is this dispute about?

In one word it’s quite simple…………“Solidarity”

One of our members a Barnet Council Housing Repairs worker was injured at work.

His employer Barnet Homes, an organisation 100% owned by Barnet Council refused to provide sick pay.

Barnet UNISON tried to persuade the employer to reconsider but the employer refuses to change their position.

Our members were upset at the treatment of their fellow worker and in solidarity demanded to be balloted. All of our manual workers were clear that it was a matter of principle. Any of them could be injured at work. They understand the terror of trying to survive in the worst cost of living crisis in 75 years on low pay. They don’t understand why their employer is deliberately taking an aggressive attack on their work colleague. All of these workers worked throughout Covid and at one time were clapped as key workers.

The other back story is that our member who was injured is a Kosovo refugee. Very few people will understand what he has endured in his journey from Kosovo to London.

All we are asking is for the employer to pay his sick pay for the time period he was denied pay.

There have been many attempts by Barnet UNISON to reach out to Barnet Homes to try to avoid this dispute. Barnet UNISON had negotiated a new contract for these workers, with sick pay. To try to avert this dispute Barnet UNISON asked Barnet Homes to bring the contract forward by 3 weeks to cover our member when he was injured. This proposal was rejected.

We cannot understand why Barnet Homes prefers to engage in a battle about an amount of money which is almost insignificant to Barnet Homes but means all the world to this one member of staff. Our members would much rather be working for Barnet residents and providing a vital service, but the work they do cannot be at the expense of one of their colleagues being mistreated.

Barnet UNISON has approached Barnet Council and Barnet Labour Party on several occasions over the past four months to try to resolve this dispute.

The results of our strike ballot are as follows:

  • 100% turnout
  • 100% vote for strike action.

Our members have voted for all-out strike action. This means they are going out and staying out. This is not a 3 day strike then back to work.

Our members are angry and determined.

“Dear Helen and Branch members

Congratulations! What a fantastic result and fantastic show of solidarity to your comrade. ‘Workers united we will not be defeated’

I send a message of solidarity to your branch and members who have decided that they will not leave anyone behind, the strongest and greatest position any workforce can show!!

When you have the dates let me know and I will make every effort to attend your picket line.” (Andrea Egan UNISON President)

Details of when the strike action will start will be published in due course.

End.

Note to Editors: Contact details: Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: Helen.Davies@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

  1. Breaking News: Official Strike ballot begins for Barnet Council Housing Repairs workers

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/08/25/breaking-news-official-strike-ballot-begins-for-barnet-council-housing-repairs-workers/

  1. Barnet Responsive Repairs workers referred to UNISON’s Industrial Action Committee

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/08/05/barnet-responsive-repairs-workers-referred-to-unisons-industrial-action-committee/

  1. Barnet Council Repairs Operatives 100% turnout and 100% vote for strike action.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/07/21/barnet-council-repairs-operatives-100-turnout-and-100-vote-for-strike-action/

4. 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

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.

End.

Breaking News: Capita contracts update in easyCouncil Barnet

Good news

One of the Capita contracts a joint venture known as Re is to come to an end next year.

The following services will be returning in-house 2023:

•         Highways

•         Regeneration

•         Regulatory Services

•         Planning (Development Control)

•         Land Charges

•         Building Control

•         Cemetery and Crematorium

Not so good news: Barnet Council have agreed a fudge to second contract.

Capita will continue to deliver the following services until March 2026

Information Technology (IT)

Revenues and Benefits

Customer Services

Capita will continue to deliver the following services until 31 August 2024

·       Finance*

·       Human Resources*

* (elements of these services returned to the Council in 2019)

The following services will be returning in-house

·       Procurement & Welfare Team will return in Autumn 2022.

·       Estates (including Print) in 2023

You can read all the Council Committee reports online here https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=692&MId=11225

“It is good news that Barnet Council has accepted that outsourcing Regulatory Services was never going to make money and that it must be delivered in-house. Whilst I am happy for the current staff, I can’t help but reflect on the wasted resources poured into the One Barnet Programme; millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money was spent on consultants who took the money and ran. As for the CSG contract I think the Council has missed an opportunity to take back control of the Council. Many other Councils have managed the transition back in-house when a 10-year contract expires, look at West Sussex, Southampton all of whom had contracts with Capita. As of 17 June 2022, Capita have been paid £590 million to deliver services for Barnet Council which is £229 million more than Barnet Council had agreed to pay Capita for the two contracts with still another year left of the two 10-year contracts.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON.

End.

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