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.

End.

 

 

What do UNISON and the Mental Health social workers hope to achieve with the strike?

A recruitment and retention payment of 20%. This is less than the 25% recruitment and retention payment already given to some Barnet Children and Family social workers. Children and Family social workers receive between 15% and 25% recruitment and retention payment, Barnet Council offered adult social workers the equivalent of a 2.7% payment for two years only.

We feel that the payment will encourage more members of staff, particularly the most experienced, to stay in Barnet this reducing the frequent and destabilising turnover we have been experiencing. In addition, it aims to attract new permanent, experienced social workers who may be opting for work in better paid boroughs. It is only when we have stable staff numbers and crucially staff with significant experience in addition to newly qualified that we will be able to lower our waiting lists and provide the timely and quality care that we want to give to residents.

 

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/09/04/breaking-news-100-vote-by-mental-health-social-workers-for-strike-action/

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/06/13/breaking-news-barnet-council-mental-health-social-workers-to-be-balloted-for-strike-action/

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/03/22/unison-calls-for-urgent-action-over-chronic-shortages-of-frontline-mental-health-social-workers/

 

Why are Mental Health social workers planning to strike?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a chronic retention issue within the Mental Health Social Work Teams, 13 permanent and locum staff have left – or in some cases come and gonewithin the last 10 months. A lot of the permanent staff we have lost are the most experienced staff which means the teams are disproportionately made up of newly qualified staff.

We have a large waiting list for allocation of a social worker, some people are waiting over a year to see a social worker in which time they are likely to become more unwell or feel distressed because they aren’t getting the support they need. We deal with very complex situations, working with people in vulnerable situations including adults at risk of self-inflicted harm or harm from others.

We carry out needs assessments to facilitate discharges from hospitals for people with mental ill-health and while hospital discharges are prioritised so allocation takes place relatively quickly, sometimes a wait can still contribute to delays with discharge. As hospital discharges and high-risk situations are prioritised, it can mean that we can’t prioritise seeing people until a situation worsens and cannot do the work we want to do as social workers to put in place things that could prevent or reduce the risk of a situation worsening.

The stress from working in challenging conditions without the resources needed takes its toll on Mental Health social workers and contributes to high staff turnover. When staff leave then it can take a while for their cases to be reallocated which impacts the experience that Barnet residents have of Mental Health services and contributes to longer waiting lists.

 

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/09/04/breaking-news-100-vote-by-mental-health-social-workers-for-strike-action/

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/06/13/breaking-news-barnet-council-mental-health-social-workers-to-be-balloted-for-strike-action/

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/03/22/unison-calls-for-urgent-action-over-chronic-shortages-of-frontline-mental-health-social-workers/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking News: UNISON issues notice of strike action across Barnet Council Mental Health social work teams.

Earlier this week UNISON formally notified Barnet Council of the dates of strike action for our Barnet UNISON Mental Health Social Workers who voted 100% for strike action.

The strike timetable is as follows:

 

Week One: Tuesday 26 September

 

Week Two: Tuesday 3 October, Wednesday 4 October

 

Week Three: Tuesday 10 October, Wednesday 11 October, Thursday 12 October

 

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

“Adult mental health social workers have the same qualifications, same skills and the same retention problems as children’s workers. The only difference is the value that Barnet is choosing to place on its workers and the value it places on providing mental health services that are staffed to meet the needs of Barnet’s residents.” Barnet UNISON Mental Health social worker.

“Our members are showing the same commitment to the profession they love as Junior Doctors to theirs in taking strike action. Drastic action is needed to keep Mental Health services safe and viable for them and service users. The service needs staff with experience. Currently no one is sticking around because the levels of stress and pay are simply not worth it. Our members are absolutely doing the right thing.” Helen Davies, Branch Chair, Barnet UNISON.

 

“I want to pay tribute to our brave Barnet UNISON members who have decided ‘Enough is Enough!’ We are in the worst Cost of Living Crisis in 76 years, the current pay for social workers doesn’t reflect the level of training and knowledge needed to be able to put up with the escalating levels of stress in a workplace which has been starved of resources due to 13 years of Tory Austerity (the first 5 years under a Coalition Government). When staff are asked ‘Have you considered leaving your current role within London Borough of Barnet in the last few months’ and 100% of staff reply YES, then Barnet Council needs to listen and submit a proposal that shows our members the respect they deserve.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON.

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/09/04/breaking-news-100-vote-by-mental-health-social-workers-for-strike-action/

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/06/13/breaking-news-barnet-council-mental-health-social-workers-to-be-balloted-for-strike-action/

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/03/22/unison-calls-for-urgent-action-over-chronic-shortages-of-frontline-mental-health-social-workers/

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 https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2016-10-12-UNISON-response.pdf” 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.

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/06/13/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.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/03/22/unison-calls-for-urgent-action-over-chronic-shortages-of-frontline-mental-health-social-workers/

 

UNISON strike across Barnet Mental Health Services looms closer

On Monday 31 2023 July Barnet UNISON Mental Health social workers strike ballot began.

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.

It has also been used to recruit and retain HGV drivers.

Three weeks ago, Barnet Council made an offer of £1000 (2.5%) one off payment to the following staff:

  • Social worker
  • Occupational therapist
  • Lead practitioner
  • Team manager (social work)
  • Team manager (occupational therapy)

The proposed duration of the payments is initially for 2 years after which would be under review to assess if case for extension after this.

Barnet UNISON has started a separate consultation with our members over this offer to establish if they wish to accept or reject this offer.

In the meantime we consulted with our Mental Health Social Workers who quickly rejected the offer.

Barnet UNISON has notified Barnet Council that our Mental Health social workers have rejected the offer. We have now formally submitted our claim which we believe will resolve the dispute. We are awaiting a response.

In the meantime, the strike ballot will run to 1 September 2023.

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/06/13/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.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/03/22/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.

End.

Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Background:

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

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/06/20/breaking-news-sacked-catering-workers-have-had-redundancy-claims-turned-down/

Update on the “Barnet 41” Kosher Catering Service workers

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/05/31/update-on-the-barnet-41-kosher-catering-service-workers/

Help our Barnet Schools Kosher Kitchen Workers

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2023/06/06/help-our-barnet-schools-kosher-kitchen-workers/

 

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