Going, going gone, sold to…….what is going on at Apthorp?

Staff and vulnerable residents were told they would have to leave Apthorp by the 31 October 2021.

First, we were told it was closing because the building was unsafe, and the Council could not afford it.

Then we found out that they were carrying on with the refurbishment and that it might be re-opening.

Then we discovered that the Council does not own the property. It belongs to Catalyst Housing. We asked why the Council were spending money on a property they do not own.

No response.

There are 93 care workers at risk of the sack and if Apthorp is closed, however if it is re-opening, we want to be able to work with the employer to prevent loyal care workers from being sacked.

Barnet asked the following questions:

  1. What is reason for the building workers on this property?
  2. Are you re-opening Apthorp as a:
  3. Residential & day care setting
  4. Nursing, Residential, day care setting
  5. Extra care and day care setting
  6. A mixture of all the above
  7. Selling it off to the private sector
  8. Selling it off to a property developer for housing?
  9. Why is Barnet Council spending money on a property they don’t own?

No responses to the above.

Breaking News

Last week we found out that a Gerald Eve estate agent was on site at Apthorp Lodge carrying out an evaluation of the building on behalf of Catalyst Housing.

We have asked what is going on.

  • Why are Catalyst seeking a valuation?
  • Why are Barnet Council paying for refurbishment of a property which they don’t own?
  • Why have Barnet Council not sought costs from Catalyst Housing for allowing it to fall into disrepair and putting the safety of residents at risk.

It appears there is millions for contractors but nothing for care workers who risked their lives during the Covid pandemic.

You can view our care workers latest video message here https://youtu.be/mUcnJbFuFX8

You can send messages of solidarity here: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

Barnet UNISON support Defend Paul Holmes campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barnet UNISON notes:

  • The suspension by Labour-led Kirklees Council of UNISON Branch Secretary Paul Holmes in December 2019
  • That Kirklees Council has had almost two years to carry out an investigation
  • That Paul has been a Nalgo and then UNISON steward for 46 years, and Branch Secretary for 32 years, and is currently the President of UNISON
  • That Kirklees UNISON is one of the largest branches in the country and had 3 live strike ballots and one pending when Paul was suspended
  • On hearing that Paul Holmes had been suspended the Council’s Deputy Leader said at the time, “There is a Father Christmas”.

 

Barnet UNISON believes:

  • That an injury to one is an injury to all – employers must not be allowed to get away with attacking our union organisation and our union activists, reps, branch and national officers.
  • The Deputy Leader’s statement shows that UNISON and Paul have been a thorn in their side, and critical to resisting cuts and closures of public services – delaying any investigation for so long indicates the aim was more to undermine union organisation in the Council.

Barnet UNISON resolves:

  • To campaign for Kirklees Council to end the suspension of Paul.
  • To write to both the Chief Executive and the Council Leader calling on them to lift Paul’s suspension.
  • To affiliate to the Defend Paul Holmes Campaign and publicise and mobilise for campaign events and activities.

 

Barnet UNISON Branch Executive unanimously passed this motion on 8 September 2021.

 

Is Apthorp care setting closing or not?

Incredibly last week our reps were informed that Barnet Council were continuing with the repairs at Apthorp with the intention that it will re-open.

This was shocking news in that the staff were not informed it was re-opening and the Council delegated report which triggered the announcement of the sacking of the 93 Covid heroes did not mention that Apthorp would re-open

The only recorded decision was as follows:

“1. To commence work with the residents of Apthorp and their families to identify appropriate alternative placements and effect a safe transfer to the new home.”

View report here https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=8668

“Why did Barnet Council consult residents, relatives, Trade Unions and staff on the options before simply imposing a decision that is damaging both to resident and staff?”

Now we know it is re-opening we are seeking a meaningful consultation on an alternative way to deal with the issues facing the residents and staff.

Look out for further updates.

End.

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Priorities

Capita have received a staggering £555 million from Barnet Council whilst 93 #CovidHeroes care workers have been given their redundancy notice due to a decision made by Barnet Council

Big thanks to @ReasonableNB for keeping tally of the #Capita payments

“Just what we pay Capita – How they billed £555 million to one council”

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.com/2021/09/just-what-we-pay-capita-how-they-billed.html

This is truly shocking our #WeAreBarnet #keyworkers just don’t understand why money can be found for Capita but not for the residents of #Apthorp

 

 

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

 

Join our We Are Barnet Save Apthorp lobby in person and online

Please come along in solidarity for our 93 Covid Heroes who after working through Covid were told two weeks ago their jobs were going.

The lobby starts 6 pm outside Hendon Town Hall and finishes at 7 pm.

This will be an opportunity to hear from the care workers directly as to what has happened.

Barnet UNISON has a proud history of standing up for members when they are in need therefore we are calling on all Barnet UNISON members and trade union members to attend our Solidarity public lobby.

We had asked to speak at the Adults & Safeguarding Committee which starts at 7 pm inside Hendon Town Hall , but our request was denied.

We have been offered a meeting and we are waiting for the date and time.

We also want to extend our request for solidarity to the wider Trade Union movement and we are pleased to announce that our lobby will be hosted by Socialist Telly.

You can find Socialist Telly on You Tube here https://www.youtube.com/c/SocialistTelly

Here are details to join the Save Apthorp care home lobby online

Join Barnet UNISON Zoom Meeting Tuesday 14 September at 5.45 pm – 7 pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88230246920?pwd=L1ZNa1FWellMYVpRWW1zc0ZpbzI0dz09

Meeting ID: 882 3024 6920

Passcode: 894775

Solidarity

End.

Update on Apthorp consultation: Save Apthorp

 

Redundancy Consultations

If you do not consult employees in a redundancy situation, any redundancies you make will almost certainly be unfair and you could be taken to an employment tribunal. Source Making staff redundant: Redundancy consultations – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Up to now the Barnet Group have not provided answers to questions posed – tomorrow we will be 14 days into a ‘Consultation’ period of 45 days where 93 Care workers have been placed ‘At Risk’ of Redundancy at Apthorp Lodge – Covid heroes every one of them!

So far, the information requested by UNISON from the Barnet Group and NOT provided is:

  1. A Consultation Document
  2. A list of Vacancies in YCB and Barnet Homes
  3. A list of Agency staff usage in YCB
  4. Whether colleagues in The Barnet Group will be offered Voluntary Redundancy in the hope of freeing up posts for those wishing to redeploy.
  5. A ‘script’ for the 121’s
  6. Staff ‘At Risk’ have not been provide with the Fremantle managing change policy.
  7. Who is funding the redundancy process?
  8. An answer as to who decided to break with ‘custom and practice’ in the Barnet Group of informing recognised Trade Unions of impending restructures and giving accompanying Consultation documents before the start of consultation.
  9. ‘Hard copies’ of all documentation in relation to this consultation will need to be provided and distributed to staff – No answer
  10. Staff have requested that 121’s take place face to face for all parties concerned in the consultation – No answer

The 121’s with staff are scheduled to begin on Monday the 6th of September at 9.15am.

If you are in need of support, advice and representation please contact the branch at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring 0208 359 2088

 

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