Category Archives: Statement
Closure of Job Centres in the London Borough of Barnet
Barnet UNISON are concerned about the proposed closure of two of the four Job Centres in the Borough. The DWP appears to have not fully considered the impact this would have on those people working in and using Job Centres, and the wider community including our members working to provide support for those seeking work.
Instead of closing Job Centres we call on the DWP to consider the benefits and opportunities of working in partnership with local Government. The proposal shows a failure to learn from the success of existing DWP and Local Government partnerships such as the Boost project at Burnt Oak
Barnet’s population, already the size of many UK cities, will rise from 373, 000 to over 400,000 within the next decade. To reduce Job Centre services by 50% in the face of this growth illustrates a lack of strategic planning by the DWP
Reducing the number of Job Centres will place greater strains and stresses on people who already are in the difficult and worrying situation of having to find work as travel costs and waiting times will increase.
The closure of half of the Borough’s Job Centres will put further pressure on our members working in council services such as libraries and social care who are providing support to people who are out of work; our members are already suffering from additional pressures from cuts to jobs and resources.
Barnet UNISON call for a more imaginative and socially responsible approach to providing Job Centre Services in our Borough. This to be arrived at after a full and real consultation with Job Centre workers as represented by the PCS, service users, the Council and other concerned organisations.
Barnet Unison – Local Government branch.
Yesterday, I registered a hate crime directed at me.
I registered the hate crime because on Thursday 9 February, 2017 I received an unsolicited email from someone I do not know and who claimed to be supporting me.
It is a sickening email. I have shared it with some close friends.
Because of the serious nature of the allegations I have responded back to the sender asking for their contact details so that I can speak with them. In my opinion if the allegations were true there would be serious ramifications for the trade union movement.
Any reasonable person after receiving such a shocking email and having been unable to elicit a response from the sender could only come to one conclusion; that the sender was attempting to bully and intimidate me into silence.
Firstly, I want to reassure my friends that I am ok. If I had received this email a year ago I am not sure how I would have responded and it could have been very serious.
But I have been back at work for over five months. Life is never straightforward in Barnet, so I am having to operate with all the energy I have to keep my focus which is always to my members and the community we serve.
I sought the opinions of some close friends and the consensus was that the purpose of the email was to try and destabilise me, silence me and undermine my mental health so that I do not trust my comrades.
However, the sender and or the others behind this attack fail to recognise that I belong to a tight community and I also have friends outside of Barnet. I am also an organiser. It is in my blood and when someone picks on someone I can’t look away. I am not a spectator, I have to offer my help and dealing with bullies has for me been a fight that never goes away, no matter what it means to me personally.
Well, I thought about what I should do.
“Ignore it”, was a common response.
But, what about the others the sender also bullies, how can I just let this go?
I quickly decided I can’t and so I decided the first step was to register it as a hate crime with the police.
I have provided the police with the email and the email address.
I have tried to find the identity by looking up the IP address which led me to an address in California, it is an @icloud.com email address.
However, if you know someone who knows how to trace an email please let me know.
Here is an extract from the email:
“Attended the left mtg last night – debate about gen sec election where your so called comrades tore you apart
Comments like he’s a fucking liability,he s a total nut job and he’s lost the fucking plot with no one challenging them.they laughed at all your ranting a and postings ..and spoke about men in white coats appalling stuff
They said you were the worst candidate ever fielded and you are a spineless chicken especially writing grovelling apologies all the time.using words like nut case,loony etc
I have never heard such nasty language about a comrade esp their mental state.”
I don’t believe such a meeting took place. As I said earlier this was an attempt to try and bully someone who is known to have had a serious mental health breakdown.
Now it is true that I made a decision to go public about my own battle with my mental health, which I didn’t take lightly but I felt that it was one thing to tell others to share their experiences and another to keep mine to myself. It was scary decision, but I have had nothing but positive feedback from hundreds of people, some I know, our members and others who have just read some of my blog posts about my mental health issues.
This is not the first time I have been subject to threats and probably won’t be my last. I also had threatening emails and smears whilst I stood as a candidate in the UNISON General Secretary elections.
I have been the target of two hate crimes which resulted in damage to my car, one of the attacks took place less than 5 metres from my front door.
Back then I took a decision to go public, to say I would not be intimidated or bullied into silence.
Both the local press, my employer and other trade unionists rallied round by signing a message of solidarity. John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn along with a number of high profile trade union leaders added their names see link here:
Defend our UNISON rep – Letter to Editor
Local press covered it here:
‘We won’t let the bullies intimidate us’ – union rep in hate attack
“Union condemns hate crime as rep’s car is vandalised”
“F*cking union faggot” – UNISON activist targeted in hate crime
My message to the sender.
I will not be silenced I will not be bullied, I will not allow you to push me into the shadows.
I will not be backing down from standing up for what I believe in.
Whatever you thought you would achieve by sending that email has back-fired.
This matter is not at an end, it is only just beginning.
Barnet Trades Union Council fully supports Jeremy Corbyn’s candidature in the upcoming Labour Party Leadership Election.
We deplore and condemn the lack of democratic process being exhibited by the Labour NEC in relation to the impending Labour Leadership Election.
- Disenfranchisement of full Labour party members who have joined the Party since the end of January – even though it was clearly stated upon them joining as new members they would have a vote in any future party elections taking place.
This also call into question the legitimacy of any Branch Meetings, CLP All Members Meetings, Annual General Meetings and Local Campaign Forum Meetings which have been convened if new members who joined since the beginning of February had an active role and participated in voting.
- The assertion by the NEC that Supporters of the Labour Party who pay £25 by the 15th of July WILL have a vote in the Leadership Election even though full members of the Party who joined after the end of January will not.
This will also disproportionately effect people who will struggle to pay £25 at short notice – the very people who the Labour Party are meant to represent.
- NEC’s instruction that CLP, Branch and Local Campaign Forum meetings do not take place until after the Leadership Election is completed.
‘All normal Party meetings at CLP and Branch level shall be suspended until the completion of the Leadership Election. The only meetings which will be organised while this timetable is in place are:
# Meetings solely for the purpose of making a supporting nomination.
# Campaign planning meetings for by- elections or devolved mayors.
# Any meeting agreed with the explicit permission of the Regional Director [General Secretary]’
This is unacceptable and goes against the Labour tradition of inclusive Democracy.
We call upon the NEC and Local Labour Parties to reinstate Democracy in the Labour Party and to overturn these unconstitutional, anti-democratic, usurping of Labour Party rules.