Barnet TUC and the Barnet Alliance for Public Services are putting on transport to get to Manchester to join the nationwide protests against Tory austerity and attacks on workers’ rights on Sunday the 4th of October.
There will be three pick-up points:
6:45 AM: Finchley Central
7 AM: Hendon Central
7.15 AM: Mill Hill Broadway
Tickets are £15 for waged people, and £1 unwaged (plus donations if you can afford it).
BAPS is planning a Barnet autumn conference for local campaigners on Sunday 22 November, titled #OurBarnet #OurServices #OurFuture.
We all learn daily how important solidarity is. Our experience of campaigning in Barnet proves that the different campaigns, even the single-issue ones, are all linked. From housing, through protecting our immediate or borough-wide environment to defending our public libraries, schools, social services and other public services, and whether we are residents or workers in Barnet, we find ourselves sympathising with the aims of other local or less local campaigns, supporting them and needing their support. Meeting others who feel strongly about the issue they are campaigning on is empowering and the networks built through these acquaintances and shared experiences are effective.
The objective of this conference therefore is to bring together all of us who are campaigning on different issues in Barnet, to discuss the questions that people from all the campaigns want to explore, as well as campaigning questions such as:
why did it work?
what did not work?
Why? What went wrong?
what do we need to skill up?
Or any other burning issue that needs brainstorming and answers, as will come up in the meeting.
We would like you to organise and host this conference jointly with us. It will be facilitated in the Open Space format that proved hugely successful and truly empowering in a big public meeting that we held last November, hosted jointly by BAPS, Barnet Housing Group and Our West Hendon.
Organising and facilitating this with us is a training opportunity that we offer you, to learn this effective way of running democratic discussions. It will equip you with skills that you can later use elsewhere. Please check out what is the Art of Hosting here.
We are fortunate to have an experienced facilitator, Paulette Singer of Clitterhouse Farm Project and Our West Hendon, (Paulette is a community organiser previously at West Hendon estate) and 3 other experienced Open Space ‘hosts’ helping us to facilitate this conference. In the Housing meeting last November it provided space for a democratic, open and thorough discussion in which everyone could contribute, and the ‘harvest’ (results) of which were the community’s submission to the Housing Commission that took place later that year. [I attach this document here to give you a flavour of how it looks and what can be achieved].
I would like to invite you to a planning meeting (probably one of 2 or 3), on Wednesday 30 September at 12 noon. The venue of this meeting will depend on how many of us are participating, so please let me know ASAP if you or someone from your group are interested in principle, and whether you can make it to this meeting.
The Conservative Party Conference is taking place at Manchester in October. DPAC are organising two protests on Monday 5th and Wednesday 7th October during the week of the Tory party conference actions, and would like to support as many DPAC members to come to Manchester and attend our demonstrations, the details of the actions can be found here and there is a day of planning Tory protest workshops to prepare for the DPAC actions taking place in Manchester on Saturday 12th September
Many of our members need additional support in order to travel and take part in a protest. The coaches being supplied by the Peoples’ Assembly for travel to Manchester are not accessible for many disabled people, and accessible coaches are incredibly expensive and have space for one wheelchair user.
Many of our disabled members will not be able to access the church hall that has been provided for the week of actions during the Tory Party Conference by the Peoples Assembly as it will not be adapted to meet disabled people’s access needs, and many of our members will require accessible hotel accommodation with facilities adapted for wheelchair users and others.
DPAC meet members travel costs when travelling to a DPAC protest so that as many disabled people who wish to travel to participate in our protests are able to do so. We have £2,000 put aside to assist with travel and hotel accommodation, but this will only assist 10-12 disabled people to get to Manchester. We need your support with a donation to help us support as many disabled people travel to Manchester and take part in the DPAC action themed IDS Wanted for Crimes Against Disabled People on Monday 5th October.
Would you be able to make a donation and support getting DPAC to Manchester?
You can Donate via Paypal using the button below, send a cheque made payable to DPAC, or arrange a BACS transfer. Please firstname.lastname@example.org for details of the last two options
Barnet UNISON LG members who still work for Barnet Council (excluding community schools) will begin a 24 hour strike action on Wednesday 7 October
The dispute involves social workers, coach escorts, drivers, occupational therapists, schools catering staff, education welfare officers, library workers, children centre workers, street cleaning & refuse workers, all of whom have made it clear they want to remain employees of Barnet Council and don’t want to be outsourced.
Barnet Council is about to agree a number of outsourcing and cuts across a number of council committees over the next four months which would see the number of staff employed by the council reduced to less than 300.
The outsourcing of services is Barnet Council’s response to austerity policies which have resulted in council budgets being cut by 40% by 2020. It is a deliberate ideological attack on public services which punishes our members and limits access to public services for the most vulnerable in our society. Barnet Council announced a few weeks ago that Meals on Wheels will cease as from 1 April 2016, which is another sign of how pernicious austerity fundamentalist policies are to those in most need
On 2 October the Council will publish a report on the future of the library service which is seeking to reduce the staff budget by 68%. This will, in effect, destroy our wonderful public library services.
At our recent Kids4Libraries march Jeremy Corbyn, now Leader of Labour Party said: ‘First I want to add my apologies to the event and the huge admiration for Barnet UNISON. I want to send a message of support to John Burgess & the Save Barnet Libraries campaign for their tireless & inspirational community campaign to protect their local Library service. I would encourage everyone to join their Kids4Libraries this Saturday 12 September. Barnet Council are determined to outsource all of their services I salute Barnet UNISON & the community campaign for their ongoing fight to defend public services.’
Picket Lines will be:
Barnet House from 7 am.
Mill Hill Depot—Starts 6 am onward.
East Finchley Library—Start 9 am onward.
A rally will be held outside Barnet House at 12 noon
UNISON Branch Secretary John Burgess said: “Our members want to work for the Council, they want to be directly accountable to the residents of Barnet. Our members don’t want to work for an employer which will have to place the shareholders’ legal demands before local residents’ needs. Our members don’t want to work for an employer which uses zero hours contracts. Our members don’t want to work for an employer which will not pay the London Living Wage as a basic minimum. Our members don’t want to work for an employer which won’t allow their colleagues to belong to their Pension Scheme, and our members don’t want to work for an employer which will take jobs out of the borough. That’s why87% of our members working for the Council voted ‘Yes’ to taking strike action. So far the Council has failed to come close to agreeing to any one of these demands. One of our members has written and produced a music campaign video called “UNISON Army” which pretty much sums up the mood of our members take a look
Six years ago Barnet Council introduced a policy known as Future Shape which morphed into ‘easyCouncil’*.This imposed a series of tariffs on residents wishing to access a range of services. A basic service would be offered to residents at a fixed price, but ‘fast track’ services might be available if you paid extra.
This approach was quickly abandoned by the consultant driven One Barnet Programme, which led to the following Council Services being outsourced/privatised in the space of three years:
Social Care for Adults with disabilities to Your Choice Barnet
Housing Options to Barnet Homes
Parking Services to NSL
Revenues & Benefits, IT, HR & Payroll, Pensions, Health & Safety, Finance, Estates, Property Services, Procurement, Projects all now part of Capita CSG
Environmental Health, Planning, Building Control, Hendon Cemetery & Crematorium, Highways, Trading Standards & Licensing all now Capita RE
Registrars & Nationality Services
Over the past three years our members have seen hundreds of colleagues transferred to other employers. This has often meant redundancy as the new employer moved jobs out of the borough and Greater London to places as far afield as Belfast, Carlisle, Coventry, Southampton and Darlington.
Barnet has branded this final phase as the ‘Commissioning Council’.
On 3 March 2015 Barnet Council agreed its next Five Commissioning Plans all of which are looking at ‘Alternative Delivery Models’, jargon for working for a different employer.
The Council Services now at risk of outsourcing are:
Early Years – 13 Children’s Centres
Adults & Communities services
Street Scene Services e.g. Waste & Recycling, Street Cleansing, Parks and Transport
Corbyn’s election as Labour leader is a victory for the movement against austerity and privatisation, of which BAPS is part of. This coming Tuesday 22 September, Barnet Left Unity is hosting a meeting to discuss what Corbyn’s victory means for us and the fight for public services. Hope you can make it. There will be food to share after the discussion.
The meaning of Corbyn’s election
TUESDAY 22 SEPTEMBER, 6:30-8:30pm
Greek Cypriot Centre
Britannia Road, N12 9RU, North Finchley
‘Jeremy for Labour’ speaker invited
Kate Hudson, National Secretary Left Unity
John Burgess, Barnet Unison Secretary (in a personal capacity)
The Barnet Group, Barnet Councils Local Authority Trading Company – incorporating Barnet Homes [the wholly Council owned Arm’s Length Management Organisation] which manages Barnet Council housing stock and Your Choice Barnet [the wholly Council owned care provider which offers support to adults with a range of physical and learning disabilities] have announced plans to set up a New Legal Entity within the Barnet Group.
Barnet UNISON are currently in consultation with the Barnet Group in regard to the proposals to set up the New Legal Entity.
The ‘Entity’ will be used as the sole future employer within the Barnet Group. All vacancies will be recruited to the New Legal Entity on reduced pay and terms and conditions to existing staff within the Group.
Future employees of the ‘Entity’, whose sole shareholder will be the London Borough of Barnet, will not be able to join the Local Government Pension Scheme.
If current employees of the Barnet Group seek promotion or are restructured, then they will be offered employment via the New Legal Entity on the lower pay scale and with reduced Terms & Conditions including longer working hours.
The proposals to set up the New Legal Entity are scheduled to go forward to the Policy & Resources Committee on the 14th of October.
MEALS on Wheels are likely to be scrapped in a bid to save £280,000.
Barnet council is planning to stop the subsidised service when the contract with Sodexo comes to an end next March, affecting 216 people.
The number of people having the two course hot meals has declined from 281 people in 2012-13.
Barnet council’s chairman of the adults and safeguarding committee councillor Sachin Rajput said: “The scale of the financial challenge facing the council means we have to look very carefully at every service the council currently provides.”
He said the council was visiting everyone who gets a meal delivered to them to explain the proposal and discuss other ways they can get a hot meal.
Each meal costs £7.26, with the council paying £3.11 and the resident picking up the tab for £4.15.
They are produced in Enfield, where they have been awarded a level five “very good” rating under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.
The council does not have a statutory duty to provide the meals, but does have a duty to safeguard vulnerable adults.
In a letter to the people who currently receive the home meals service the council’s director of adult social services Dawn Wakeling said the council has been “reviewing the existing home meals service and looking at how else we can meet people’s nutritional needs through the use of other alternative services available in the community and by supporting people to live independently.”
She said in exceptional circumstances the council will consider supporting people who do not have the means to source or cook a meal.
Diners will get a review from adult social care to see if there are other ways of helping them get a meal.
They have also been invited to tell the council what they think by Friday September 18.
Neel Radia, the chairman of the National Association of Care Catering said: “Meals on Wheels is more than just a meal for older people. For some older people there meals on wheels driver is the only person they get daily contact with helping to reduce loneliness and social isolation in our community. “