UNISON is balloting the ASSIST workers this week the result of the ballot will be announced 16 March.
- ASSIST provides this vital support to some 5,000 residents in Barnet and in Brent.
- For the lack of £160,000 a year the service is on notice that it is to be outsourced. UNISON has agreed to back these workers and will ballot all of them for official strike action.
- The Assist service, amongst other things, provides and maintains equipment to 5,000 mainly elderly residents of Barnet.
The most common of these items is the “lifeline” equipment which a resident would use if they fell. The resident would pull a cord or press a button on a pendant alarm which activates in the call centre and a decision is taken about whether someone from ASSIST needs to contact emergency services, a relative or go out themselves to emergencies. This support often makes the difference between someone being able to continue living at home or having to go into residential care.
During the Covid Pandemic the ASSIST service was rightly described as the “4th Emergency Service” by senior managers in The Barnet Group.
“Last Autumn we had the debacle of 74 care workers being given redundancy due to the closure of Apthorp Care Centre and now this! This service is so cheap to run and so valuable to thousands of residents of Barnet – it beggars belief that once again the lives of key workers are being thrown up in the air as soon as the crisis is over. We want Barnet Council and The Barnet Group which are essentially one and the same thing, to do the right thing and find a way forward which benefits residents and keeps a valued service in Barnet.” (Helen Davies, Branch Chair Barnet UNISON.)
“Keyworkers who were rightly praised by their managers are now rewarded for their hard work with outsourcing. At a time when Barnet Council are bringing services back in-house from Capita how can this valued service not been treated the same. If Human Resources, Finance, Recruitment, are needed back in-house why isn’t the ASSIST service being given the same treatment? I call upon Barnet Council to take back this service in-house and provide peace of mind for the 5,000 residents and the inspirational ASSIST workers who care so much about the service they provide.” (John Burgess Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON).
“The Assist workers have the full backing of Greater London UNISON for your dispute. You provide a vital service which enables vulnerable people to stay in their homes safe in the knowledge someone will respond quickly in an emergency. It’s a no brainer that your service benefits and supports the work of social care and the NHS. We want you to win and will support you all the way.” (Tracey Dalling Regional Secretary Greater London UNISON.)
Note to Editors: Contact details: Helen Davies Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For more details on the ASSIST service and Barnet UNISON response click on our link below Barnet UNISON Response to Barnet Homes ASSIST Proposal