Breaking News: Barnet UNISON Mental Health social worker re-ballot results

Friday 23 February 2024.

Our Barnet UNISON Mental Health social workers re-ballot results are now in.

We had a 91% turn out with a 100% VOTE for strike action.

Barnet UNISON Mental Health social workers have already taken 27 days of strike action which equates to approximately 4,050 lost contact days for Mental health service users in Barnet.

Today UNISON submitted the results to the Barnet Council Chief Executive.

UNISON has agreed to go into talks with Barnet Council and ACAS. UNISON have agreed a couple of dates in early March.

UNISON has from the outset been prepared to negotiate to reach a resolution to what has become the longest running Mental Health social worker strike in UNISON’s history.

Barnet UNISON has agreed a new strike timetable with our members which will begin in April in the unfortunate event that we are unable to reach a resolution.

The strike timetable would be a significant increase in the number of strike days taken by the social workers so far.

  • From 15 April to 26 April 2024 (two weeks).
  • From 13 May to 1 June 2024 (three weeks).
  • From 17 June to 12 July 2024. (four weeks).

Our members are 100% behind UNISONs negotiating team and remain hopeful that a positive resolution can be secured to avoid any further strike action.

More news later.

End.

Barnet UNISON consultative ballot for care workers

 

13 February 2024

Dear colleague,

We want you to participate in this consultative ballot to make it clear to senior managers just how strongly you feel about your pay.

We will be letting senior managers know the results of the ballot, so this is your chance to make a difference. If enough people vote yes, then it will not be your last chance and we may progress to balloting our members officially about your willingness to take strike action.

During the COVID pandemic you put your lives and the lives of your families/ loved ones on the line to keep members of the public safe. It took a long time for you to then receive an uplift in your pay, terms and conditions….and it was not enough.

In any case the small gains you made in pay were smashed away by the cost-of-living crisis.

What can The Barnet Group afford? Perhaps we should ask the question differently – You have been identified as essential workers; can any employer afford the cost of you not doing your job?

What you must do now?

If your workplace setting has a UNISON rep, you should ask them for your ballot paper. Your rep should be checking with you that the address on the envelope matches your current home address. If we did go on to carry out an official ballot, the letter would go to your home address. We need to know we have your correct details. Complete the ballot paper and hand it back to your UNISON rep.

If your workplace has no UNISON rep, the ballot paper will be posted to you directly. Please complete the ballot paper and put it back in the pre-paid envelope and post it back to us.

Your ballot paper needs to reach us by 5pm 23rd February 2024

 

Yours Sincerely

 

John Burgess                                  Patrick Hunter                           Helen Davies

Barnet UNISON                               Barnet UNISON                         Barnet UNISON

Branch Secretary              TBG Assistant Branch Secretary                Branch Chair

 

 

 

 

Bringing Services Home – Barnet UNISON campaign

 

Barnet UNISON is proud to announce that we are promoting UNISON Bringing Services Home campaign.

As a branch we have had more than our share of outsourcing. The easy Council experiment was a spectacular failure. It cost more money (yes, we told them it would!) and it did not lead to better services.

In May 2022, Barnet Labour Party won the election with a massive majority and one of their priorities was “Review of contracted out services, in the context of the new administration’s aspiration to bring privatised services back in-house.”

Last year Barnet Labour Party brought back one of the big contracts with Capita and other services on the other Capita contract have been coming back in-house.

The Council is going through a period of healing from the badly advised outsourcing ideology which dominated our Council for over a decade.

Today Barnet UNISON has written to all senior council officers responsible for outsourced contracts seeking a meeting to discuss how and when they are going to review the outsourced service.

Barnet UNISON also want to deal with the Ethnicity Pay Gap which the outsourcing easy Council ideology promoted by always securing the outsourcing option for services which are largely provided by Black workers e.g.

  1. NSL: Parking Services
  2. ISS: Catering Services
  3. Your Choice Barnet: Social Care services
  4. Norse: Cleaning services
  5. Blue 9: Security Services.

All the above services were outsourced under the Tories.

Barnet UNISON positively supports the statement of UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“Black workers make a vital contribution to the health and care sector but are all too often at the bottom of the pay scale as care workers, porters, healthcare assistants and catering staff. They frequently face shocking discrimination, threatening their health, job security and life chances.”

This why Barnet UNISON is determined to work with the Labour Administration to bring back these services into the Council thus enabling real life meaningful changes for a workforce that is often invisible and often low paid and without occupational sick pay.

End.

 

5 things you can do to support Barnet Mental Health social worker strikers

What can supporters do?

 

  1. Visit our picket lines all week commencing 5-9 February

between 8- 10 am see details on our web site here https://rb.gy/bwlesx

  1. Please sign Barnet UNISON email campaign to Barnet Council Chief Executive Please click on the link and follow the instructions. https://action.unison.org.uk/page/135744/action/1 Let us know when he replies.
  2. Please write by email or by letter to:

John Hooton, Chief Executive of Barnet Council John.Hooton@Barnet.gov.uk

Address: London Borough of Barnet; 2 Bristol Avenue; London NW9 4EW

Cllr Barry Rawlings, Leader of Barnet Council Cllr.B.Rawlings@barnet.gov.uk

Address: London Borough of Barnet; 2 Bristol Avenue; London NW9 4EW.

 

  1. Please send a solidarity message to our strikers by emailing our office at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

  1. Make a donation to the Barnet UNISON Industrial Action Fund. Email the office at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk for details.

Solidarity Kingsley

Over the past few years Barnet UNISON has been working to increase the number of UNISON reps and Health & Safety reps.

One of the services we have targeted has been Street Scene services.

Kingsley is a good example of how our branch has begun to grow the UNISON reps not just for the present but the future. Kingsley works in Ground Maintenance and they use heavy machinery and equipment to carry out their work across the borough. Kingsley is eager to learn more about his Health & Safety role in order to keep his work colleagues safe.

That is why our reps are sending solidarity to Kingsley.

 

 

Solidarity from Liz Wheatley Camden UNISON

Liz Wheatley Camden UNISON Julia Mwaluke UNISON Vice President Helen Davies Barnet UNISON

 

Dear Striking Social Workers in Barnet UNISON,

We want to send further solidarity greetings from Camden UNISON whilst you are taking more strike action over the way you are being treated. It’s outrageous that your team isn’t deemed worthy of the same retention payments as other teams and services in Barnet – we know that there’s a real problem recruiting and retaining social workers across London, and a Council that doesn’t treat you properly will lose you.

For far too long, public services have been seen by Tory governments as a waste of money – they have grudgingly given as little as possible each year. However, we know that in reality, the services we provide are a lifeline for millions, and are what makes society function – where would we be without school support staff, refuse workers, housing workers, library workers and of course social workers?

We also know that you get the service you pay for – the kind of support you provide really needs continuity, it needs providers who aren’t over-worked and stressed, who have the time to find the best for their clients, and who simply have the time for their clients. So for your bosses to not even discuss how they can solve the retention crisis in your team is a real disgrace.

Not least because the money is there. A recent report from Oxfam this month has highlighted that the five richest people in the world have more than doubled their wealth since 2020. Their wealth has increased by more than £11 an hour. At the same time, the world’s poorest 5 billion people have been made poorer. So it’s not about no money in society, it’s about who has it.

Your strike is part of a bigger fight from our class saying that we should have more of the money available – for us, and also for those we provide a service to. That’s why it matters that you win, and if we can help you by bringing solidarity then we will. Last year, some members of our branch here in Camden took indefinite strike action for 59 days, and they had a huge win – they increased their pay by £5,000 this year, and above inflation rises for the next 2 years as well. The lesson that they teach us is that if you fight, it’s possible to win!

Solidarity to you all,

Liz Wheatley (Branch Secretary) and Jacqui Wallace (Branch Chair)

Camden UNISON

Liz Wheatley

Branch Secretary

Camden UNISON

1 2 3 119