Insourcing win at Barnet council

Insourcing win at Barnet council

Over 300 staff in a variety of services like trading standards, environmental health and other regulatory services, will now be transferred back in-house

Staff at Barnet council are due to be transferred back to council employment thanks to a decade-long campaign by UNISON.

The 330 affected workers are currently employed by outsourcing multinational conglomerate, Capita, and are being brought back in house after the council was used as a test case for the outsourcing of local government services.

The staff who work under a joint venture called ‘Capita Re’ in a variety of areas like trading standards, environmental health, planning highways and other regulatory services, will be TUPE transferred back in house on 1 April this year.

In 2012, much of the service provision at the council was outsourced to Capita on decade-long contracts by the Conservative-controlled council, with the intervening 10 years marred by several controversies including a multi-million-pound fraud and contracts running vastly over budget.

Barnet’s UNISON branch has campaigned for services to be brought back in-house since the contracts were initially handed to Capita and there have already been major in-sourcing successes at the council.

In May last year, Labour won control of the council after 20 years of Conservative leadership and, though the contracts had already been due to end next year, the new council has fast-tracked plans by six months to bring some services back in house.

John Burgess, Barnet local government branch secretary, said: “This is good news for staff, good news for residents and good news for the services. I welcome the decision and look forward to welcoming back all the services back into Barnet Council where they all belong.

“For a decade, our branch has campaigned for local government services at Barnet to be brought back in-house and, while we are happy that this latest has been fast tracked, there are still many issues to address for our members who are being TUPE’d.

“These include workplace inequalities such as staff being paid differently for the same role. Barnet UNISON is already seeking discussions with the council about harmonisation of the terms and conditions of the TUPE’d workforce.

“During the worst cost of living crisis in 75 years it is imperative that our branch does it best to look after the interests of our members transferring back into the council.”


Emergency HGV drivers depot meeting 1 February 5.45 am

Barnet UNISON carried out an informal ballot of our members on the offer of 10 % Recruitment/Retention for our HGV driver members.

97% of members rejected this offer.

Barnet Council has been paying social workers in Family Services Recruitment/Retention payments up to 20% for the past 5 years.

In the worst Cost of Living Crisis our members believe they are worth more than 10%.

We are calling a meeting of all drivers to discuss what happens to our claim. It is important that all drivers turn up to the meeting

Wednesday 1 February, 5.45 a.m.


Emergency Barnet UNISON schools members meeting and advice

Dear Member

Early this week the National Education Union (NEU) announced that they have successfully completed a strike ballot for industrial action.

The NEU have announced the strike dates which will impact on Barnet Schools:

  1. Wednesday 1 February (England and Wales)
  2. Thursday 2 March (London, South East, South West)
  3. Wednesday 15 March (England and Wales)
  4. Thursday 16 March (England and Wales)

Our branch has already begun to receive communications from our members working in Barnet Schools as to what this means for them.

Today, Thursday 19 January 2023, we have received advice from UNISON National Advice.

Now that we have the advice we have decided to call an emergency Barnet UNISON schools meeting at which we will have speakers from the NEU. We have UNISON speakers ready to take questions on how we are going to support our members on these strike days.

The Barnet UNISON meeting is on Thursday 26 January 6-7 pm please click on the link below to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 850 0623 2648

Passcode: 960864

Below is the UNISON advice to our members. We have highlighted in bold and underlined some key parts of the advice.

 “UNISON Advice

UNISON respects the rights of other trade unions to take industrial action and supports the other unions’ strike action. We urge members to support legal protests and rallies organised by NEU that take place outside your contracted hours of work.

However, UNISON members in schools and sixth form colleges have not been balloted for strike action or action short of strike action on this occasion and are therefore advised to continue with their normal duties and responsibilities.  UNISON members should not take on any additional responsibilities being given to them directly as a result of other unions’ industrial action.

Support staff should not be expected to provide cover for, or take classes, where this would normally be done by teachers who are taking action. Staff should not be moved from the duties they would normally have carried out in order to cover work and frustrate the industrial action of colleagues. This includes any staff employed as either HLTAs or Cover Supervisors. In Cymru/Wales, in workplaces where NEU members who are support staff are taking strike action, UNISON members should not be moved to cover those colleagues’ duties either.  Members who are under pressure to provide cover for striking colleagues should contact their UNISON rep, branch or region for further advice and support.

Members are reminded that due to industrial relations legislation only those employees who have been involved in a legal ballot are allowed to take industrial action.

HLTAs and Cover Supervisors

Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) should only do ‘Specified Work’ with the support and/or supervision of a Qualified Teacher. Cover Supervisors supervise students who are working to a lesson prepared by a Qualified Teacher, usually a classroom teacher. If you are in either of these roles you should not be expected to take whole classes on the day of a strike if the teacher that normally supervises, supports or prepares your work is on strike.

DfE Guidance on Industrial Action in Schools (England only)

The DfE have updated and recirculated their guidance on industrial action in schools. The guidance is non-statutory, this means that schools are not obliged to follow the guidance.

Handling strike action in schools – GOV.UK (

The advice makes clear that for maintained schools the decision on whether to close a school or not is the responsibility of the headteacher, and for academies it rests with the Trust. However, this decision is usually delegated to the headteacher.

The guidance is aimed at headteachers advising them on ways that they can try and keep their school open. This includes guidance on the recent government legislation allowing agency staff to cover strike action. UNISON is currently challenging the legality of this legislation and it is not accepted by many agencies. If you are aware of any instances of agency staff being brought in to cover striking colleagues, please report this to your regional office.

The guidance also suggests that schools can use some of the emergency measures introduced during the Covid pandemic to keep schools open, including asking staff to provide remote learning. We do not that accept this would fall within the definition of normal work for support staff and they should not be called on to deliver remote learning on strike days.”

If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Barnet UNISON office on email to or ring and leave a message on 0208 359 2088.

I look forward to seeing you all at our UNISON schools meeting next week on Thursday 26 January 2023.


Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary




Breaking Good News: All Community Schools to receive £150 Cost of Living payment

Barnet UNISON announced that Barnet Council would be making Cost-of-Living payment of £150 to all non-schools’ staff on grades A-E. Unfortunately, at the time the offer was made we were informed that this would not be made to staff in community schools for whom the council is the employer.

Barnet UNISON believed this was unfair as many of these members are low paid. We asked for Barnet Council to financially support Community Schools to enable them to make this much needed payment to their staff.

We can now confirm that we have just heard that Barnet Council have agreed one-off payment to school support staff on Grades A-E.

Please note this applies to all school staff for whom the council is the employer.

List of Barnet Community Schools are below. 




Cost of Living Crisis one off payment to lowest grades except in community schools.

RPI a massive 19.9% in October! We have two Waste & Recycling (Bin workers) pay issues

The graphic above was taken from the Government website The Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The almost vertical rise in RPI is plain for all to see. The graphic shows RPI over a 30-year period.

We are unprecedented times which is why our members are angry and determined to get a pay offer they believe provides them with some respect.

Early next week UNISON and GMB are going into another round of talks to try and reach an agreement on two pay claims made on behalf of bin workers

At a mass meeting in the depot this morning our members are clear they want a better offer.

Our members worked throughout Covid and feel their contribution to the delivering services 52 weeks a year to Barnet residents is not recognised by their employer.

Warms words will not pay the rent, the food bills or the escalating energy costs.

Barnet UNISON will be reminding the employer that our members working in Waste & Recycling (Bin workers) had a 91% turnout in the National Pay consultation and almost of the Votes were to REJECT the offer and move to strike action.

See voting figures here

The next round of talks will take place on Monday 28 November 2022.

More later.





Barnet Council: London Living Wage is NOW £11.95

Barnet Council includes the London Living Wage as a contract clause for some of the contractors that deliver services on behalf of Barnet Council e.g. Norse (cleaning contractor) ISS (catering in schools), Blue Nine (security services).


“The new Living Wage rates were announced on Thursday 22nd September 2022.  Employers should implement the rise as soon as possible but by the latest 14th May 2023.”

Our members working for Norse, ISS, Blue Nine are currently earning £11.05 an hour.

The new rate is £11.95 and hour.

The worst Cost-of-Living Crisis in 75 years is having a disproportionate impact on the lowest paid which is why Barnet UNISON has called on Barnet Council to ask their contractors to update the London Living Wage for their staff before Christmas.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows RPI was 19.9% at the end of October (see graph below).


Breaking NEWS: HGV Retention payments update

There have been two meetings between Street Scene management UNISON and GMB regards a retention payment for HGV drivers.

Street Scene Management have proposed a 10% retention payment which will be made for a six-month period from 01 October 2022 through to 31 March 2023.

UNISON and GMB proposed a 20% retention payment for a 12-month period.

As we were unable to reach an agreement a meeting is being arranged for Trade Union representatives and Street Scene Management Team representatives to meet with the Corporate Management Team (Chief Executive) to discuss the Trade Unions proposal.


Branch Meeting on National Pay for next year (2023)

National Pay 2023 consultation is starting soon.  

Join the discussion about next year’s pay claim with two great speakers

Glen Williams Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Service Group Executive

Amerit Rait UNISON Vice President and Greater London NEC rep and NHS worker.

Time: 8 December 2022 6 pm.

Join Zoom Meeting







Dear Branch Secretary



We have received a number of queries about the impact of the backdated pay award on members in receipt of Universal Credit.


UNISON’s position is that all backpay from 1 April 2022 is money owed to local authority and other employees covered by the NJC, and should be paid to them as soon as possible. However, where requested, we ask employers to engage sympathetically with employees who are in receipt of Universal Credit if they need to arrange for back-pay to be staggered. This should only be done if requested by the employee and will be to minimise any future reduction of Universal Credit payments. Such arrangements may vary from individual to individual and paying the back-pay over a couple of months should only be implemented at the request of an employee.


This guidance covers two key areas:


  • What should members do if their Universal Credit payments fall or stop as a result of the backpay? This guidance gives initial advice and signposts helpful links.
  • Does the size of the backpay mean some members would be better off asking for their backpay to be staggered? Our advice is that this is generally not the case and that branches should ensure all backpay is paid as soon as possible. In circumstances where two members of the same household are in receipt of Universal Credit and EACH receive full back pay, the individuals concerned should use the online benefits calculator at to check how they are affected. They may wish to consider whether they need to request that the employer staggers back pay for one or both employees.


Universal Credit and backpay  


Some UNISON members covered by the 2022 NJC pay settlement for England, Wales and Northern Ireland will also be in receipt of Universal Credit.


The 2022 NJC pay award will result in a reduction in the amount of Universal Credit received as earnings will rise. This is because Universal Credit is reduced by 55p for every extra £1 someone earns (after income tax and national insurance).


The 2022/23 pay award is for a consolidated pay increase of £1,925 on all NJC pay points. The pay rise will not be paid as a one-off lump sum, as it is consolidated into basic pay it will be spread across twelve months. Please remember that pay is pro-rata for part-time/term time only employees.


The 2022 NJC pay settlement is backdated to April 2022 which means that employers will also be making a one-off payment of back pay. It is expected that the backpay is likely to be be paid in either November or December, depending on the arrangements made by each employer.


This means that the amount of take-home pay will be significantly higher in the month in which back-pay is paid.


As Universal Credit is based on individual members’ own personal circumstances, UNISON does not know exactly how individual members may be affected.


The backpay will be included in the Universal Credit award calculation made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in the relevant assessment period for that individual and it will reduce the amount of UC received in the following month. For example, if backpay is included in the November calculation, the UC payment in December will be affected. (The assessment period begins on one day in the month and ends a month later – for example 27th of the month to 26th of the following month.)


All members on Universal Credit will see a reduction in their UC in the month following the period that includes their one-off back pay because their earnings have increased. If members see their payment stop altogether then those members need to renew their UC claims immediately.


How do members renew their UC claims?


Universal Credit payments do not start again automatically. If members’ UC payments stop, they must start up their claim again. They should do this as soon as they can, to be sure they do not miss out. Branches should advise members to look out for any changes to their UC payment, and if it falls to zero, they should advise them as follows:


  • If your claim does close because of the increased and backdated award you will see a message on your Universal Credit Journal telling you about this.
  • If your Universal Credit payments stop because you have had additional pay, the UC payments will not automatically start again. You must start up your claim again. You should do this as soon as you can to make sure you do not miss out.
  • To reclaim, log into your Universal Credit Journal and follow the advice about how to ‘Reclaim’. You will have to answer a few simple questions.
  • If you have problems re-starting your claim, you should contact your Work Coach in the first instance.
  • Further help can be obtained from Jobcentre Plus staff.
  • An overview of Universal Credit can be found at or you can call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.


Staggered payment and the ‘surplus earnings rule’


The Universal Credit rules state:

‘If you earn more than £2,500 over the amount you can earn before you receive no Universal Credit payment, you are said to have surplus earnings. These surplus earnings will be taken into account in the next monthly assessment period. This may reduce the amount of Universal Credit you receive, or perhaps mean that you don’t get any Universal Credit payment that month.’

We have been asked whether members can avoid or minimize the reductions in their Universal Credit payments, by asking their employer to spread the backpay owed to them over several months.


Universal Credit is calculated using household income so it is possible that two members of the same household will each receive back pay in the same month.


UNISON’s advice is that if only one member of the household will get the NJC back pay then members should not need to make this request. At an individual level, the amount of backpay will not be so large that payment of it in one month will make things worse than they would be if the backpay were staggered.


If, however two members of the same household who are in receipt of Universal Credit are going to receive the backdated pay award, the member/s should be advised to check how they might be affected by completing UNISON’s online benefits calculator at


To find out what the impact might be they can change their monthly income amount on the calculator to reflect the month in which they will receive the backdated payment to see what impact this will have on their Universal Credit in the following month.


For reference: The 2022 NJC pay settlement gives members £1,925 (based on full time hours) over the year. So, the extra pay for an individual, including backpay, will definitely be less than £2,500 over the amount that would reduce Universal Credit to Zero.


If backpay is included in the November pay packet, a member will receive 8 months’ worth of pay – a maximum £1,284 if working full-time hours. This amounts to £2,568 if there are two members of the same household who both work full-time.


If backpay is included in the December pay packet, a member will receive 9 months’ worth of pay – maximum £1,443.75 if working full-time hours. This amounts to £2,887.50 if there are two members of the same household who both work full-time.


Please remember that these amounts will be subject to the normal deductions (tax, National Insurance, pensions so the net increase will be lower).


In many cases the backpayment of the NJC pay rise will not bring employees over the earnings limit that would reduce Universal Credit payments to zero. Households where two earners will both get back pay and who currently receive LESS than £300 per month in Universal Credit should particularly be advised to check. Remember you can use UNISON’s online benefits calculator at (If you have any queries about the results please email


If it seems that having the backpayment staggered over a couple of months would prevent the Universal Credit threshold being passed, then please ask your employer to stagger backpay.


Please remember: As Universal Credit is based on a number of variables it is worth seeking advice if you are concerned about the impact of the pay rise on your Universal Credit payment and entitlement.

 With kind regards

Helen Reynolds                  Sean Fox

Regional Head of Local Government      Chair of Regional Local Government Committee

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