Barnet UNISON Black Workers Self Organised Group.

Barnet Unison has now set up a Black Members Self-Organised Group (SOG).

The Group will be holding its official Launch on
March 16th 2022 1.00-2.30pm
Click here to join the meeting

Members eligible to attend the group are those who identify as ‘Black’ according to the political definition:
UNISON has its own definition of ‘Black’. It is a political term which embraces the shared history of nations which have experienced colonialism, the transatlantic slave trade and who continue to experience inequalities in modern day life due to the colour of their skin. The term ‘Black’ rose out of the Anti-racist activism in Britain in  the 70s and 80s. It was championed by those such as Diane Abbott, Keith Vaz, Bernie Grant and Paul Boateng and is used to unite people of African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean Communities.
It is an agreed term being used across UNISON.

UNISON’s guide to defining Black https://www.unison.org.uk/about/what-we-do/fairness-equality/black-members/defining-black/
The importance of a Black Members SOG is to:

  1. Encourage the development of Black members into active members and activists

 

  1. Promote and encourage collective working in the branch on race equality issues

 

  1. Promote the Recruitment of Black members

 

  1. Empower Black members

 

  1. Develop a greater understanding of trade unions and the history of Black trade unionism

 

  1. Provide opportunity for training, improving confidence of Black members

 

  1. Inform Branch bargaining agenda with employers

 

  1. Help Branch and employers focus on race issues facing Black members

 

  1. Promote representation of Black members as activists and in Branch positions

 

  1. Inform the use and promotion of the union’s Race Discrimination Claims Protocol and best practice in Branch

The Black Members SOG will be giving a presentation to Barnet Black Staff Resource Action Group (BRAG) at their meeting in April.
This will provide information regarding the SOG as well as general information regarding Barnet Unison.

If you identify as Black and would like to receive information about the group’s activities please contact beverley.berrick@barnetunison.org.uk

We look forward to your support in developing this important resource in Barnet.

The Barnet Group Negotiations

Barnet UNISON and GMB have been in talks with The Barnet Group over the last year to address the issues of unequal pay within The Group (more than 8 different sets of terms and conditions for people doing similar work). Barnet UNISON believes there may be Equal Pay issues when comparing a largely female workforce in The Barnet Group to the Council workforce where there is a largely male manual section of the workforce.

We want all Barnet Group workers to be on the same pay, terms and conditions as the Council workforce. The Barnet Group is wholly owned by the Council and performs as well as the Council and carries out the vast majority of its work on behalf of the Council, yet you are paid second class rates of terms and conditions.

The Barnet Group has reiterated its stance that it could not afford to pay those terms and conditions. Nonetheless both parties have been engaged in a discussion as to what can be done to improve the terms and conditions for the workforce.

A 2-step approach has been agreed. First to improve the offer of the TBG flex contract and then to offer this to TUPE’d staff. No one would be forced onto a TBG flex contract.

The areas The Barnet Group presented for discussion were:

  1. Annual Leave
  2. Sick pay arrangements
  3. Maternity/ Paternity and Adoption leave arrangements
  4. Death in Service benefits

We wanted to discuss:

  1. Annual Leave
  2. Sick pay arrangements
  3. Pension
  4. Overtime payments and shift enhancements
  5. Maternity/ Paternity and Adoption leave arrangements

Throughout the negotiations we requested information. We were particularly interested in the cost of the agency spend as we believe if the offer is attractive enough then there is a potential for the increase in the wage bill to be offset by the decrease in agency spend.

The Barnet Group is keen to implement the proposals if possible on the 1st April 2022. Both parties have committed to further negotiations to address the concerns of the TUPE staff once these proposals have been implemented.

Once we have exhausted this round of negotiations we will consult with all of our members to take the next steps. At this moment we anticipate this will happen late February. Please attend the AGM and all Branch meetings in order to be best informed and to make a decision.

Mandatory Vaccines

Is the clue in the title: Manda “Tory” vaccines?

Health and Social Care settings are about to face devastating numbers of staff being sacked from those areas of work as mandatory COVID vaccines are introduced. 3rd February is the last day to have the first dose if you want to be covered by the time it becomes law.

Lobbying by our union, UNISON, and other organisations is going on apace in order to stop or delay this introduction. UNISON has always encouraged members to get vaccinated but has insisted this is a personal choice and is wholly opposed to it being made mandatory. Vaccination as a condition of deployment (VCOD) for health and care workers (England) Frequently Asked Questions | health news | News | UNISON National

As many as 73,000 staff nationwide will be lost from frontline services. The loss of staff on this scale will inevitably pose a serious public health risk in itself.

In the last month Barnet UNISON has been trying to work out with Adults Social Care and Family Services who may be affected by the measure and who is not. Our position with the employer is that the guidance should be interpreted as generously as possible to keep colleagues at work and on the frontline.

What we can see now is that CQC regulated areas of activity are the ones which are affected. If you work in a setting where CQC inspections do not take place, but your employer is saying you must have the vaccine we need to know now. We therefore expect all workers in Family Services to also be exempt from the regulation. Please let us know immediately if this is not the case.

The current information would also strongly suggest that those colleagues in Adult Social Care carrying out assessments under the Care Act (provided they do not have to go in and out of a health care setting, care home etc.) are also exempt. We will update you further.

In the meantime, please do lobby your MP and participate in the National Day of Action for the NHS February 26th. Events – SOS NHS

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