London Living Wage Week: Barnet UNISON message to employers is “Pay Up Now!”

London Living Wage Week: Barnet UNISON message to employers is:

“Pay Up Now!”


This week is London Living Wage for more details of the campaign please go to



As soon as Barnet UNISON heard the new rate had changed from £11.95 to £13.15 an hour we contacted the Leader of Barnet Council, Chief Executive of Barnet Council and Chief Executive of The Barnet Group to ask what they are doing to ensure that all contractors adopt the new pay rate.

Last week we heard that the Chief Executive of The Barnet Group has sent a message to staff stating:
“We have made a commitment to pay the London living wage if we can afford to, to comply with the Living Wage Foundation accreditation it needs to be implemented by 1st May 2024.”

We already know from a survey of our members that pay is the one biggest issues. We are in the worst Cost Of Living Crisis in 76 years, things are not getting better, they are getting worse.

Barnet UNISON will shortly be conducting a mass consultation pay ballot with our members which will ask two questions.

1. Do you think you should wait until 1 May 2024, or should you be given the new pay rate now?

2. If you want the pay now and management refuse to pay, are you prepared to take strike action? Yes or No?

The choice of what we do next will be from our members. We are a branch that does support its members as we saw last year with the Barnet Ten strikes and now, we have social workers on strike about pay.

Whatever happens, you the members will decide what we do next.

We will be organising meetings in workplaces and a big online meeting to discuss this issue.

If you want to book a meeting on pay or would like more information about the mass consultation pay ballot email us at




Join Brighton & Hove & Barnet UNISON social worker picket lines ONLINE Tues 7 Nov 12- 1pm

This is an invitation from Barnet and Brighton & Hove UNISON inviting supporters to attend our Online Solidarity Social Worker picket lines on

Tuesday 7 November 12- 1pm 

Here is the link for the meeting 👇👇👇

Meeting ID: 879 1496 8590

We will have live feed from the picket lines in Brighton and Barnet.

We are in the worst cost of living crisis in 76 years and our members have had enough.







Breaking News: UNISON issues strike action notice for the next 5 months!

Julia Mwaluke, UNISON Vice President on Barnet UNISON picket line

Today, UNISON sent the strike notification letter to Barnet Council laying out the dates of strike action to be taken by Mental Health social workers starting in November right through to March 2024.

The first day of strike action will start Tuesday 7 November 2023.

We are pleased to report that Brighton UNISON Adults social workers will be taking strike action on the same day (Tuesday 7 November 2023) Barnet UNISON Mental Health social workers are taking strike action. Their demand is similar to our demand, they want parity for Adults social workers with Family Services social workers who have retention payments.

Barnet UNISON has proposed a solution to this dispute which is based on rates (7.5% to 25%) that are already paid out to other social workers in Family services. According to evidence seen by Barnet UNISON, the numbers of staff leaving Mental Health social work teams exceeds those leaving Family Services social work teams who are all receiving recruitment & retention payments. Barnet UNISON is clear that recruitment & retention payments are likely to help stabilise the high turnover of staff across Mental Health social work teams and help retain existing staff.

The strike timetable for the next FIVE months is as follows:

  • 7/8/9/14/15/16 November 2023.
  • 4/5/6/7/8/ December 2023.
  • 15/16/17/18/19 January 2024.
  • 5/6/7/8/9 February 2024.
  • 4/5/6/7/8 March 2024.

42% of social workers within the Mental Health Social Care have left within the past year whilst more still have formal plans to leave the teams within the next few months, meaning this figure is closer to 50%. Furthermore, the majority of workers who have left have been those with by far the most experience, with many of these workers previously working their entire careers in mental health services within Barnet. When looking at information regarding the mental health experience of permanent staff members, one team has lost 75% of the experience within their team in less than one year. The result is that social workers who are recently qualified make up the bulk of the teams.

***Please note that Barnet UNISON has lodged another internal dispute on behalf of the remaining social workers and occupational therapists working in Adults in response to the 2.6% recruitment and retention offer made to this group of workers. Barnet UNISON is unaware of any recruitment and retention issues across this workforce and has made repeated requests for a breakdown of staffing levels across all the other social work and OT Teams. As of Tuesday 24 October, this information has not been provided despite several requests being made both in writing and in meetings.

We are challenging the lack of a safe service and the unreasonable and increasing waiting lists which put the residents of Barnet at risk of harm. We are asking for a recruitment and retention payment to maintain a stable and permanent workforce of experienced staff. We will continue to advocate for the residents of Barnet and unless Barnet Council implement a reasonable recruitment and retention policy to keep experienced staff in Barnet, we will continue to return to the picket line come rain, shine, or more rain, to raise awareness and fight for residents. Why? Because we are social workers, and THIS is what social work looks like!” (Barnet UNISON Mental Health social worker).

“It is incredible that the employer prefers strikes over getting its facts straight and negotiating a solution. It is incredible that the only people who truly care about the services they provide are the ones on the frontline. Under the COVID pandemic we were heroes and now we’re supposed to accept that our viewpoints count for nothing? Enough is enough! These striking workers make sense and are prepared to fight for decent services. It is an honour to be with them.” (Helen Davies, Branch Chair Barnet UNISON)

“My advice to the Council is to wake up and return to the negotiating table with a credible or risk further disruptions to Mental Health services. We know that the waiting list for services has increased from 6 months to 14 months. The impact of strikes and the constant staffing changes are all exacerbating a problem that needs addressing. Our members are clear that to deliver a safe service with no waiting lists they need to have a stable and experienced workforce. In the space of first 9 months in 2023, 14 out 31 staff have left and last week another member of staff has given in their notice. This staffing churn is bad news for service users, and it impacts on the well-being of staff and the longer it continues there is an increased likelihood of more resignations.” (John Burgess, Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON).


Notes to Editors.

Contact details: Barnet UNISON on 0208 359 2088 or email:


Why our Mental Health social workers are on strike flyer.

Day One of Mental Health social work strike.


What do UNISON and the Mental Health social workers hope to achieve with the strike?

Breaking News: 100% vote by Mental Health Social Workers for strike action

Breaking News: Barnet Council Mental Health social workers to be balloted for strike action.

UNISON calls for urgent action over chronic shortages of frontline Mental Health social workers.


When will the National Pay award be paid?

Earlier this month UNISON National issued a statement to say:

“UNISON met with the other trade unions (Unite and GMB) earlier this week, and we did our best to encourage a resolution to the 2023 pay dispute – emphasising the need for members to receive their pay rise as soon as possible. Ultimately, the outcome of the meeting was to reconvene in late October, after the current GMB industrial action ballot closes. Unite are currently taking industrial action in some local authorities. Since the process cannot move forward unless the NJC trade union side has reached an agreement, we cannot proceed until this is the case.”

Barnet UNISON will report back to members as soon as we find out what happened at the meeting with UNISON, Unite and GMB.

The table above shows the NEW GRADES IN YELLOW.

If you don’t know what Grade you are on please contact your supervisor or email Barnet UNISON at or leave a voicemail message on our office number 0208 359 2088 (the voicemail is checked every day).

Once the National Pay offer has been agreed, it will be back dated to 1 April 2023.


Industrial relations hit a new low in Barnet Council.

Barnet UNISON will always speak up for our members regardless of employer. We are a trade union, and our role is to organise and support members in the workplace. The last 13 years Austerity policies have had a detrimental impact on our members. Many of our members are exhausted, overworked, stressed out and the cost-of-living crisis is plunging many of our members into debt.

Our branch has organsied many strikes over the last couple fo decades.

However, in our recent strike of Mental Health social workers there appears to be a change in approach towards Barnet UNISON. This is surprising and disappointing that we are now under a Labour Administration. Many of our members are expecting things to be different than when the Tories were in power. Its 17 months since the last election and by 12 October, Barnet UNISON will have taken 20 days of strike action which is more than we had under the last 6 years of the Tories.

To those who keep asking, Barnet UNISON has tried to keep an open dialogue with Barnet Labour Party.

Below are a list of concerns:

1. Barnet Council have refused to talk to Barnet UNISON about life and limb cover. This is the first time in 28 years of being a Barnet UNISON rep in Barnet Council that this has happened. “This never happened under the 20 years under Tory rule in Barnet Council.”


2. Barnet Council emailed staff before the strike asking members to respond if they were taking strike action. Whilst the employer can do this, this is the first time they have done this in the last  28 years . “This never happened under the 20 years under Tory rule in Barnet Council.”


3. Barnet UNISON wrote to the Chief Executive pointing out the email to members was intimidatory and that senior managers should approach me about Life and Limb cover. Barnet UNISON was assured that senior managers would contact me. We have had three days of strike action and another 3 days of strike action this week and to date no one has contacted me. “This never happened under the 20 years under Tory rule in Barnet Council.”


4. Managers have sent several managers to one of the workplaces to in our view to try and intimidate our members. These managers never go to this workplace, and they don’t work in Mental Health Services. This is a childish act which is backfiring. However, the message is clear that management in Adult Social Care are trying to sidestep having to deal with Barnet UNISON. This never happened under the 20 years under Tory rule in Barnet Council.

5. Barnet UNISON has seen an email sent by a senior manager to a UNISON member who was on strike and therefore unable to respond, asking if they were taking strike action. This email shows that senior managers had no plan for life and limb cover. We know because some of our members were contacted on the picket line. This is a shocking lack of respect for the service but towards Barnet UNISON. This never happened under the 20 years under Tory rule in Barnet Council.


Before Barnet UNISON members took strike action Barnet Council had been claiming for 9 months that there were no recruitment and retention issues.

On the eve of the formal strike ballot Barnet Council changed their minds and said that there was a recruitment and retention issue but not just in Mental Health but across Adult Social Care. They made an offer of 2.6%.

Barnet Council have consistently denied that they need recruitment and retention payments but last year in a report on Mental Health services they agreed to a recruitment and retention payment (6.2%) for one job role.

Barnet Mental Health social workers rejected the 2.6% deeming it an insult.

Barnet UNISON members working for Adult Social Care have rejected the 2.6% and Barnet UNISON will be registering our claim in a formal meeting on 11 October. If an agreement cannot be reached the issue will be escalated to a meeting with the Chief Executive. If we do not reach an agreement at this meeting a formal dispute will be raised, and Barnet UNISON will be requesting a lawful strike ballot for these members.

Our members are clear that the only way for the service users to receive they urgently need is for the Council to address the chronic staffing issues.

  • Already the wait for an initial screening, which should be completed in 5 days as per the policy is now 12 weeks.
  • The waiting list is now up to 14 months.

The service is in crisis, but managers are in denial.

Each day of strike action increases the waiting lists. The longer senior management fail to take this seriously pushes the service deeper into crisis.

Since 1 September 2023 two staff have already left and there are more planning to leave if things don’t change.

Now is not the time for macho politics. Senior management need to come to the table with a sensible offer. If Family Services can pay up to 25% on top of basic, then Adults need to match it.


Breaking News: Barnet UNISON members HGV drivers Recruitment & Retention ballot result.

Dear Barnet UNISON member,

Firstly , thank you for completing this ballot. It is important that your employer understands how important this payment is for you.

Please see below the result of our internal ballot.

What happens next?

Barnet UNISON has already had a brief meeting last week with the Director to advise of our internal ballot.

We agreed to pass on the results of the ballot to senior management and will look to begin negotiations towards the end of October.




1 2 3 4 117