Branch Christmas and New Year opening hours

The branch office will be closed from 2pm on Friday 24th December 2021 and will re-open on Tuesday 4th January 2022.
If you have an urgent enquiry whilst we are closed, you can contact UNISON Direct on 0800 0 857 857.

UNISON Direct’s Christmas and New Year opening hours are:
December 24: 6am to 3pm
December 25 – 28: CLOSED
December 29 and 30: 6am to midnight
December 31: 6am to 3pm
January 1 – 3: CLOSED
January 4: normal hours resume. (Monday to Friday 6am to midnight, Saturday 9am – 4pm, Sunday closed) Webchat is available 9am -5pm
Further details regarding UNISON Legal Services, Regional Office contact details and Financial help can be located on the UNISON website by clicking the below link.

We would like to send our thanks to all the essential workers who will be working over the Christmas period and to all our members who have worked so hard to continue to deliver public services during yet another incredibly challenging year.

We wish you a happy Christmas and New Year.

Mental Health Support

Whether you have been working throughout the pandemic, working from home, self-isolating or experiencing something else, Barnet UNISON understands the impact this may be having on your or a colleague’s mental health.

Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. Below are details about websites and organisations to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.

If you need support right now, please consider contacting 111 (NHS); 999 if you are experiencing a crisis; your local crisis mental health team; or speak to someone you trust. Please know there are people who will listen to you and support you.

Able Futures
Able Futures can help you manage your mental health at work so you can enjoy more good days. If eligible they provide you with nine months advice and guidance from a mental health specialist who can help you learn coping mechanisms, build resilience, access therapy or work with your employer to make adjustments to help your mental health at work.

Call Able Futures free on 0800 321 3137 from 8am to 10.30pm, Monday to Friday or apply online.

Nafsiyat is an intercultural therapy centre, committed to providing effective and accessible psychotherapy and counselling services to people from diverse religious, cultural and ethnic communities in London.


They currently offer intercultural therapy to people living in the London boroughs of Camden, Islington, Enfield and Haringey. This therapy is short-term only, but available at no charge.

To access this therapy, you need either to be referred to us them, for example by your GP, or you can apply to refer yourself.

NHS Every Mind Matters
Visit the NHS Every Mind Matters website:

When life is tough, Samaritans are here to listen at any time of the day or night. You can talk to them about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how difficult.
Call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website

Shout 85258
Shout offers confidential 24/7 crisis text support for times when you need immediate assistance.
Text “SHOUT” to 85258 or visit Shout Crisis Text Line

Crisis support for young people
If you are under 35 and feel that life is not worth living any more, call Papyrus’s HopelineUK from 9am to 10pm weekdays and 2pm to 10pm on weekends.
Call HopelineUK on 0800 068 41 41
Text 07786 209697
Visit the Papyrus website

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason.
Call 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Free, anonymous webchat with trained staff
Visit the CALM website

Hub of Hope
No matter what you’re going through, you should not have to do it alone. The Hub of Hope is a national database that brings together local mental health services.
Find support near you now


One more Christmas: Memorial vigil to the 5 residents who died after being moved hastily from Apthorp Care Centre at the end of October 2021

One more Christmas/ Lyrics by Beau King Houston to be sung to the tune of ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby.
(For the residents/Victims, friends & family, and staff members affected by the Apthorp Care Centre move 2021)
Verse 1
We were dreaming of one more Christmas
With the loved ones we used to know
But nobody listened
Then one decision
Meant we were left out in the cold
Verse 2
We were told we’d be secure this Christmas
You promised we were here to stay
Now our days just don’t feel as bright
Cos you chose to ignore our workers rights
Verse 3
We were dreaming of our last Christmas
Alas that wasn’t to be so
We were moved like cattle
No strength to battle
We lost our lives to save you dough
Verse 4
We lost the home we loved this Christmas
We miss the life we always knew
Try to affect change and be true
Know that one Christmas this could be you.

Poem for Apthorp

We received this poem some weeks ago. Many residents in Barnet were troubled by the Apthorp Care Centre closure. Following the news of the 5 deaths they are demanding a public enquiry. One resident wrote and sent us this poem:


On our doorsteps we clapped for the heroes

as the virus was killing us off

we hailed common folk’s resistance to blows

though the country was led by a toff;

now in Barnet his lackeys are sacking

the workers we stood to applaud

as there’s always some lift in attacking

the low-paid we can barely afford;

872 pence an hour

such fortunes the shirkers were paid

too much for lovers of power

whose memories are rapid to fade;

they say they shall have to close Apthorp

and dozens of jobs will be lost

such chutzpah would make a dead horse gawp

but for them there is only one cost;

their creed is that people serve money

ours is the other way round;

should we wait for the sweet Easter bunny

till some kindness on earth can be found?

Hold hands, stand together, stay solid

“We’re free people, not wage slaves,” say loud,

while they are obtuse, mean and stolid

we’ll fight till we win, strong, unbowed.

Alan Dent NEU member

Where’s my ballot paper?

Phone lines now open: 0800 0857 857 to request a replacement ballot paper
Have a look at what your pay will mean next year if you accept the 1.75% or do not vote in the ballot:
UNISON have produced a pay calculator:

The calculator asks you to enter your salary, and then shows:

1. What your new salary would be if the 1.75% offer were implemented,
2. How much of a loss of money this would be (after considering inflation).

Vote now if you haven’t already done so!

NJC Strike Ballot Member FAQs | UNISON National

Back to school news

Covid-19 guidance updates

UNISON, NEU, GMB and Unite have published several updated guidance documents to reflect changes to safety measures in school settings in England:

The Government has chosen to remove most Covid safety measures in education and early years settings in England, a decision that UNISON strongly opposes. We are concerned it may well lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases and cause disruption in schools, particularly as most pupils are not currently being offered the vaccine and community rates are high.

We are also concerned that the ‘indicative’ thresholds for numbers of infections set by Department for Education (DfE) in its contingency framework are too high and risk leading to the further spread of COVID.

We therefore urge branches to contact local schools and early years providers to seek agreement  to implementing the measures in our risk assessment checklist and guidance. The DfE guidance permits leaders to adopt these additional proportionate safety measures.

Our priority is to support schools and early years settings to put in place measures to try and avoid the disruption, lost learning, and illness we saw at the end of the last term.

Model escalation procedure for dealing with serious local health and safety failings

We have updated our model local escalation procedure and template letter, which can be used in the event of serious health and safety failings.
The escalation procedure’s aim is to seek immediate remedial action to keep pupils and staff safe in school.

Branches should liaise with their regions if they need to use this procedure or template.

Read the updated escalation procedure

UNISON letter to Secretary of State on Contact Tracing

UNISON has written to The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson MP raising urgent questions and concerns over new contact tracing procedures.

We fear these new government procedures could see many close contacts in education settings remain un-traced through the new system, meaning they will not even be identified or advised to get a PCR test.

Read the letter

Support numeracy for #Checktember!

Feeling confident in numeracy is a very useful skill that many struggle with. Brushing up on numbers can help members be more confident at work.

Please support National Numeracy’s campaign for #Checktember and encourage members to spend as little as 10 mins a day boosting their number confidence and skills though the National Numeracy Challenge.

The Challenge can help you to understand your current numeracy level and enables you to quickly improve with tailored learning resources.

Take part and share


What is a Green Rep?

These are members who will take up issues of climate change in the branch and look at ways we can shift employers to become greener. This means more than putting things in the correct rubbish container. Find out what it could mean for you here.

Click here to read UNISON’s policy on climate change, the environment and the workplace.

Have Your Say On Pay!


“Despite their courage and sacrifice throughout COVID-19, council and school workers have been offered 1.75%. With inflation at 3.9%, that’s a real terms pay cut. UNISON is launching a consultation and strongly recommend members vote to reject such an unfair offer.” – UNISON

This ballot will begin later in August. Check we have your correct details for your ballot:

      • Most importantly is your name spelt correctly?
      • Is your address correct?
      • Is your job title correct?
      • Do we have the correct employer?
      • Do we have the correct department?

Read more about this campaign here

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