93 care workers sacked during a national shortage of care workers

What does it say about our society when 93 care workers are sacked and barely a mention is made in the media or by politicians?

This week consultation closed on the decision to sack 93 care workers.

Barnet UNISON has submitted our report into the shocking sacking of 93 care workers in what has been a shameful consultation.

To understand our anger and sadness at what has happened I encourage readers to read our report which is online here  or Barnet UNISON Response to Apthorp Consultation 22.10.21 FINAL

 

“Throughout the negotiation it emerged that the decision to vacate Apthorp had been taken by Barnet Council with no consultation with any other stakeholder other than Your Choice Barnet (YCB). The rationale for this has been stated over and over but the information underpinning this decision has been withheld. This has limited the trade union engagement to one of simply negotiating the redundancies rather than avoiding them. Consequently we have unanswered questions and we dispute the view that this discussion is not relevant to the trade unions.

The decisions around Apthorp directly affect the staff who are trade union members. Furthermore there is the potential for a significant knock-on effect in terms of the budget. As a result Barnet UNISON has been denied the opportunity to consider alternatives which may have ended up being less costly both on a financial and a humane level than the only option presented.” (An extract from the report)

 

What is deeply troubling is that this happened in the week of the CQC report “The State of Care”

https://www.cqc.org.uk/publications/major-report/state-care

Some of the headlines in the report are below.

  • “The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says health and care staff are “exhausted and depleted” and working under intense levels of pressure.
  • Urgent action is needed to stop a “tsunami of unmet need” rippling across essential services this winter, the care regulator has warned.
  • Desperately needed social care staff are quitting their jobs to work in the tourism and hospitality sector because they are ‘burnt out’, the sector has warned.
  • Exhausted staff are leaving the key worker roles to fill shortages in other sectors, as pubs and restaurants struggle to find enough staff.

https://www.itv.com/news/2021-10-22/burnt-out-and-exhausted-social-care-staff-quit-to-fill-hospitality-shortage

 

“We have Covid infection levels increasing daily, an overworked and under resourced NHS staff, a deliberate lack of action/leadership by this government and lack of leadership from the political opposition in Parliament and a negligent national media, it looks like we are sleep walking into a health and social care crisis of biblical proportions. We will continue to do what we always do for Barnet UNISON members which is providing public support and standing side by side with them whatever is happening to them.”

(John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.)

 

End:

 

Background to the Save Apthorp campaign 

1.Update: 93 Covid heroes face the sack

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/23/80-covid-heroes-face-the-sack/

2. Barnet UNISON request the right to speak on behalf of 93 Covid Heroes

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/26/barnet-unison-request-the-right-to-speak-on-behalf-of-93-covid-heroes/

3. What happened to the 11 Barnet Council Care Homes and day centres in 1999?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/26/what-happened-to-the-11-barnet-council-care-homes-and-day-centres-in-1999/

4. What is going on, just who owns Apthorp care home?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/03/what-is-going-on-just-who-owns-apthorp-care-home/

5. Update on Apthorp consultation: Save Apthorp

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/03/update-on-apthorp-consultation-save-apthorp/

6. Join our We Are Barnet Save Apthorp lobby in person and online

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/08/join-our-we-are-barnet-save-apthorp-lobby-in-person-and-online/

7. A Tale of Two Priorities

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/09/a-tale-of-two-priorities/

8. Is Apthorp care setting closing or not?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/09/is-apthorp-care-setting-closing-or-not/

9.Going, going gone, sold to…….what is going on at Apthorp?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/27/going-going-gone-sold-to-what-is-going-on-at-apthorp/

End.

 

 

National Pay, Unified Reward, We Are Barnet “levelling up” negotiations 2 November update

Tuesday 2 November 6- 7 pm

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81712515827?pwd=dituZHZRSWE5VW9ETDdkb0QwWTVFdz09

Meeting ID: 817 1251 5827

Passcode: 641084

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 contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring 0208 359 2088

End.

Strike ballot on Pay is coming……….

Read message from UNISON below

Dear John,

 

Over the last few weeks you should have been contacted by UNISON to ask if you wanted to accept or reject the local government employers’ offer of a 1.75% pay rise, for council and school workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

Yesterday we received the results and 79% of those who voted, voted to reject the offer.

 

Today, the committee you elect to make key decisions on members’ behalf, decided that we should move to ballot members to ask if you are willing to take industrial action. You can read more about the decision on our campaign site:

 

The strength of feeling amongst the members that voted is resounding – 79%! This is not surprising considering what an inadequate, unfair offer it is. Over the last 18 months you have gone above and beyond to keep vital services going, often risking your own safety to do so. Yet, you were offered a real terms pay cut (considering inflation has been above 3% for some time now), and the value of local government pay has fallen by 25% since 2010.

I do not want us to underestimate the task we have on our hands – we need absolutely every member to vote in the upcoming ballot.

 

We hope you will receive your ballot papers in November or early December.

 

But I wanted to get in touch to let you know what is happening. I will be in touch soon to let you know what you need to do.

 

In the meantime, make sure you tell your colleagues. And if they’re not a member of UNISON, that means they won’t be able to vote, so make sure you tell them to join and have their say!

 

Non-members can join here

https://bit.ly/3D8X0sh

 

Thank you for your dedication over the last 18 months.

 

Your union is proud of you and we’re fighting to get you what we know you deserve.

 

Best wishes,

 

Jon Richards

 

Assistant general secretary for bargaining and negotiation

UNISON

 

Abortion Rights UK March London 2 October

A few weeks ago, one of the most restrictive anti-choice laws in the US came into effect in Texas, SB8. It bans all abortions beyond 6 weeks gestation, a point at which most people don’t even know they are pregnant. Anyone involved in the process, from a doctor to a taxi driver or friend can be fined up to $10,000 if a member of the public sues them. The Supreme Court declined to intervene, meaning that the Roe Vs Wade ruling that legalised a woman’s right to choose in the US is now massively undermined.

 A woman’s right to control her body has always been a trade union issue – in fact the biggest protest ever to defend this was organised by the TUC. On 2 October, there will be protests in every state of the US, and Abortion Rights UK has called solidarity marches here. In London, it is assembling at 12 noon in Trafalgar Square and marching to the US Embassy. We would like to encourage branches to circulate this information to their members and, for those who feel able, to join the march with your branch UNISON banner.

https://abortionrights.org.uk/event/defend-abortion-march-solidarity-with-texas/

 

A round up of the Apthorp dismissal of 93 care workers

We have been contacted by supporters for information into why 93 care workers are facing the sack on 31 October 2021.

Below are links to posts we have produced since we first heard the shocking news.

This a collection of all online articles about Save Apthorp campaign

1.Update: 93 Covid heroes face the sack

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/23/80-covid-heroes-face-the-sack/

2. Barnet UNISON request the right to speak on behalf of 93 Covid Heroes

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/26/barnet-unison-request-the-right-to-speak-on-behalf-of-93-covid-heroes/

3. What happened to the 11 Barnet Council Care Homes and day centres in 1999?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/08/26/what-happened-to-the-11-barnet-council-care-homes-and-day-centres-in-1999/

4. What is going on, just who owns Apthorp care home?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/03/what-is-going-on-just-who-owns-apthorp-care-home/

5. Update on Apthorp consultation: Save Apthorp

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/03/update-on-apthorp-consultation-save-apthorp/

6. Join our We Are Barnet Save Apthorp lobby in person and online

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/08/join-our-we-are-barnet-save-apthorp-lobby-in-person-and-online/

7. A Tale of Two Priorities

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/09/a-tale-of-two-priorities/

8. Is Apthorp care setting closing or not?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/09/is-apthorp-care-setting-closing-or-not/

9.Going, going gone, sold to…….what is going on at Apthorp?

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2021/09/27/going-going-gone-sold-to-what-is-going-on-at-apthorp/

End.

Going, going gone, sold to…….what is going on at Apthorp?

Staff and vulnerable residents were told they would have to leave Apthorp by the 31 October 2021.

First, we were told it was closing because the building was unsafe, and the Council could not afford it.

Then we found out that they were carrying on with the refurbishment and that it might be re-opening.

Then we discovered that the Council does not own the property. It belongs to Catalyst Housing. We asked why the Council were spending money on a property they do not own.

No response.

There are 93 care workers at risk of the sack and if Apthorp is closed, however if it is re-opening, we want to be able to work with the employer to prevent loyal care workers from being sacked.

Barnet asked the following questions:

  1. What is reason for the building workers on this property?
  2. Are you re-opening Apthorp as a:
  3. Residential & day care setting
  4. Nursing, Residential, day care setting
  5. Extra care and day care setting
  6. A mixture of all the above
  7. Selling it off to the private sector
  8. Selling it off to a property developer for housing?
  9. Why is Barnet Council spending money on a property they don’t own?

No responses to the above.

Breaking News

Last week we found out that a Gerald Eve estate agent was on site at Apthorp Lodge carrying out an evaluation of the building on behalf of Catalyst Housing.

We have asked what is going on.

  • Why are Catalyst seeking a valuation?
  • Why are Barnet Council paying for refurbishment of a property which they don’t own?
  • Why have Barnet Council not sought costs from Catalyst Housing for allowing it to fall into disrepair and putting the safety of residents at risk.

It appears there is millions for contractors but nothing for care workers who risked their lives during the Covid pandemic.

You can view our care workers latest video message here https://youtu.be/mUcnJbFuFX8

You can send messages of solidarity here: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

Barnet UNISON support Defend Paul Holmes campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barnet UNISON notes:

  • The suspension by Labour-led Kirklees Council of UNISON Branch Secretary Paul Holmes in December 2019
  • That Kirklees Council has had almost two years to carry out an investigation
  • That Paul has been a Nalgo and then UNISON steward for 46 years, and Branch Secretary for 32 years, and is currently the President of UNISON
  • That Kirklees UNISON is one of the largest branches in the country and had 3 live strike ballots and one pending when Paul was suspended
  • On hearing that Paul Holmes had been suspended the Council’s Deputy Leader said at the time, “There is a Father Christmas”.

 

Barnet UNISON believes:

  • That an injury to one is an injury to all – employers must not be allowed to get away with attacking our union organisation and our union activists, reps, branch and national officers.
  • The Deputy Leader’s statement shows that UNISON and Paul have been a thorn in their side, and critical to resisting cuts and closures of public services – delaying any investigation for so long indicates the aim was more to undermine union organisation in the Council.

Barnet UNISON resolves:

  • To campaign for Kirklees Council to end the suspension of Paul.
  • To write to both the Chief Executive and the Council Leader calling on them to lift Paul’s suspension.
  • To affiliate to the Defend Paul Holmes Campaign and publicise and mobilise for campaign events and activities.

 

Barnet UNISON Branch Executive unanimously passed this motion on 8 September 2021.

 

Is Apthorp care setting closing or not?

Incredibly last week our reps were informed that Barnet Council were continuing with the repairs at Apthorp with the intention that it will re-open.

This was shocking news in that the staff were not informed it was re-opening and the Council delegated report which triggered the announcement of the sacking of the 93 Covid heroes did not mention that Apthorp would re-open

The only recorded decision was as follows:

“1. To commence work with the residents of Apthorp and their families to identify appropriate alternative placements and effect a safe transfer to the new home.”

View report here https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=8668

“Why did Barnet Council consult residents, relatives, Trade Unions and staff on the options before simply imposing a decision that is damaging both to resident and staff?”

Now we know it is re-opening we are seeking a meaningful consultation on an alternative way to deal with the issues facing the residents and staff.

Look out for further updates.

End.

 

 

 

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