100% of Barnet UNISON Bin workers agree new round changes have failed Barnet residents

Earlier this week the Leader of Barnet Council made the following public apology:

As a result of the apology Barnet UNISON initiated an emergency ballot of the views of our Bin worker members.

Barnet Bin workers were asked this question:

“Do you think the new round restructure is a success?”

100% of Barnet UNISON Bin workers balloted agreed the new round changes have failed Barnet residents.

Here are some of their comments:

“Simply the rounds are too big, with the addition of flats and restricted access and the result in not finishing within allocated time”

“Too big, too much work and too many Lorries in one road”

“Residents confused, rounds too big to complete, management gave us new rounds without even consulting with us”

“No leadership, no management, no consultation, no hope”

“Too much work, not put out in order for new structure too work, utter chaos”

Before 4th November 2018 all rounds were completed with very few complaints from residents

Since 4th November 2018 a large number of rounds are not being completed within allocated time, leaving bins uncollected, 1000’s of complaints from residents.

On Wednesday 28 November 2018, the Environment Committee were informed that as a result of the Bin changes the Council were paying between £15-20k in overtime per week simply to try and catch up with missed bin collections.

Could this have been avoided?

Yes, Barnet UNISON had flagged up 49 questions provided by our Bin worker members on 5 October 2018, four weeks before the launch of the new service.

Read here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2018/10/05/waste-recycling-round-restructure-questions/

Barnet UNISON received no responses to these questions.

Barnet UNISON can only conclude that the Council were confident that our serious and fundamental questions (from the workforce) were already addressed in their proposed new Bin service.

For the last four weeks Barnet UNISON has listened to anecdotal feedback from our members and read the comments made by the public about #Bingate.

Something is fundamentally wrong with the Bin changes. The workforce are working long hours to try and catch up but it is simply not enough. There are only four weeks to Christmas a time where there is always an increase in refuse and recycling.

Co-Operative Party – Community Energy: Repowering London

Barnet Co-op Party Branch Meeting

Next Meeting 5th December 2018 at 8pm

Chipping Barnet Labour Party Offices, 104 East Barnet Road, EN4 8RE

Barnet Co-operative Party is hosting a talk by community energy specialist Dr Afsheen Rashid. Afsheen is the CEO of Repowering London . A former Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change and current Chair of Community Energy England, Afsheen is a leading figure in the field of community energy generation and was awarded an MBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List for her work in renewable energy in deprived London communities. In her talk, Dr Raschid will talk about the community-owned solar energy project on the Banister House Estate in Hackney.

Banister House Solar

Banister House Solar is the first community owned solar energy project in Hackney as well as the UK’s largest community energy project on social housing. Hackney Council commissioned Repowering London to develop this project in January 2014. Repowering London has worked to develop this project alongside residents of the Banister House Estate and local energy advocacy group Hackney Energy. The project development has been funded and supported by Hackney Council.

On the 3rd of October 2015 Banister House Solar went live, generating renewable, community-owned electricity for the Banister House Estate and its residents.

Key Achievements 


  • The co-operative was established with 4 local directors from Banister House Estate.
  • 25 local young people were engaged in the 30 week paid internship programme.
  • 6 local young people benefitted from paid work experience installing solar panels on their estate. 


  • In total 102 kWp of solar array has been installed on the estate.
  • Over the project’s 20-year lifetime, 679 tonnes of CO2 will be prevented from entering the atmosphere.
  • Since it went live, Banister House Solar has generated 92,385 kWh of clean renewable electricity (November 2016). This is roughly equivalent to the electricity usage of 38 average Banister flats for a full year.
  • This means that Banister House Solar has saved around 42 tonnes of C02 from entering the atmosphere since its launch.


  • £149,000 of capital funds were raised through a community share offer to fund the project

£20,000 will be generated for the Community Fund. The following areas were selected by the community to benefit from the fund:

  • Energy efficiency measures for the Banister House homes
  • Opportunities for young people living in Banister House
  • Community activities on the estate 
  • Hackney Council will benefit from a potential savings of £20,000 in energy costs over the lifetime of the project 

Barnet Unison: Briefing Number 1 Part One

What happened in Sheffield Council?
On 20th June 2018, Sheffield Council Cabinet Committee met to discuss ending their IT partnership with Capita. Below are a series of comments and extracts from their Cabinet Committee. Please note the use of emphasis/underlining is made by Barnet UNISON.
1. What did they decide?
On 20th June 2018 Sheffield Council agreed to the following:
“…early termination of the ICT and Partnership elements of the Programme Agreement with Capita Business Services Ltd (Capita); and there may be a transfer of staff from Capita into the Council that will require a formal consultation with staff affected and the Trade Unions.”
2. I thought IT was one of Capita core services?
That is a common statement. Capita have previously sold their IT as one of their key parts of their business. However, in the Cabinet report there are some worrying comments made.
“1.1.6 Having a modern ICT environment that enables staff to be productive, and enables the kind of customer experience that can meet these demands and expectations will be essential to helping the Council address our challenges into the future so we can deliver the best outcomes for the people of Sheffield. The current ICT environment does not meet these expectations and has not kept pace with the needs of staff or the needs of our citizens.”
“The Council has encountered service issues, most notably, a prolonged period in 2017 when none of the Council’s ICT services were available due to a failure of Capita’s West Malling Data Centre–this also affected other Capita customers;”
“Issues with achieving value for money on ICT changes through the partnership agreement remain unresolved,”
“The Council has not benefitted from the innovation that we would have expected from a company with the breadth of Capita;”
“In order to deliver the scale and pace of change we require, we need to be a more nimble, agile and
responsive ICT-enabled organisation.”
“Through this process, it became increasingly clear that in order to deliver the Technology 2020 Strategy at the pace we require, the current model of ICT delivery by Capita was no longer tenable.”
3. How did Sheffield originally come to this decision?
Sheffield Council instructed officers to come up with options:
“The following options were considered through a SWOT analysis to judge their viability and produce a shortlist of realistic change options.”
“The recommended option is to take back direct control of the ICT services.”
4. But isn’t there a risk of serious financial penalties if you terminate a contract early with Capita?
This is another common and understandable question. See what Sheffield Council had to say about this risk.
“The current partnership agreement has a break clause in 2020 which would enable the Council to end the contract then and avoid the full impact of the termination costs and some of the exist costs. We have
considered this option and discounted it because it would prevent us from making progress with our Technology 2020 Strategy in the required timescales. It would also mean that we would be continuing to pay for the ICT Service at the contractual rate for at least another year and we would miss the opportunity to take the savings earlier. Making a decision now would also impact the assessment of the remaining services (see paragraph 1.10).”
5. How long does it take to bring back services in-house from Capita?
Take a look at what Sheffield Council had to say about this question.
“The plan is subject to refinement once we enter into formal discussions with Capita. Our current target is to have responsibility for all ICT services back under the Council’s control, as per this recommended option, between December 2018 and March 2019.”
A decision went to the Council 20 June 2018. Councillors expect that they will have concluded negotiations with Capita and have brought the service back in-house nine months later in March 2019.
6. Comment
Barnet UNISON has been unable to secure any information that on any serious issues about the relationship with Sheffield and Capita. There appears to have been no serious or significant issues that have caused any embarrassment to the Council and there appears to be no record of any fraudulent activity unlike here in Barnet. In which case, why does it appear that Barnet Council appears to be unable to find a way to exit the Capita.
Barnet UNISON Office, Barnet House, 1255 High Road, Whetstone, London N20 0EJ
Telephone: 020 8359 2088
Fax: 020 8368 5985
Email: contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Oppose Tommy Robinson in London – unite against racism & fascism

Tommy Robinson has said he and his supporters will march in London on Saturday 1 December. UKIP leader Gerard Batten is involved in the planning of the demonstration, according to Robinson.

Robinson says this is about a “Brexit betrayal” but it is about whipping up racism and islamophobia. Whatever way you voted in the referendum, join us to oppose Robinson and his hate.

Robinson has a history of racism, Islamophobia and fascist membership of the British National Party. He of course founded the English Defence League and has recently made links with fascists and far right politicians from Geert Wilders in Holland to the Front National in France.

Facebook event here.

Safe and Secure Homes Summit – December 8th 2018, London

Our Secure and Safe Homes Summit will take place on 8th December from 11am at:

The National Education Union, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD


This year’s summit will be a day of workshops and talks, with guest speakers and housing campaign groups from across the UK. It will be a space to discuss the continuing housing crisis which a specific focus on the safety of our homes and the secure, safety needs of the homes of the future.

Prospective workshops include:

  • Housing Associations and safety
  • Effective action
  • Universal Credit, arrears and evictions
  • Rents and repairs
  • Private renters
  • Fire safety and tower blocks
  • Trade Unions and Tenants and Residents Associations

More details to follow soon. If you would like to contribute or volunteer on the day or help spread the word, please get in touch.

Protest: Together for Climate Justice

Join us on 1st December in London

12 noon, Portland Place.

Click here to join on Facebook and invite your friends

The recent IPCC report is a landmark for our planet, setting out just what is at stake if we breach 1.5C warming.

For many years 2C was talked of as a ‘safe’ limit. It was only by the tireless work of those countries most at risk from climate change that 1.5C made it into the Paris agreement at all. But now it is clear that 2C is ‘safe’ for no one. It’s also clear that we’re on track to overshoot it. Nations’ inadequate plans to tackle climate change would see us reaching 3C or 4C within the lifetime of today’s children.

Heatwaves and hurricanes make it clear: it’s time to act on climate change. The Paris agreement was a starting point but we have a long way to go, and it’s not just Trump who won’t quit fossil fuels. From fracking to a Heathrow third runway, the UK is stalling on climate action.

This December in Poland, countries will negotiate the crucial next steps to keep the Paris climate deal on the rails. It’s urgent.

But we know we can’t depend on governments to represent us at UN talks infiltrated by fossil fuel interests. We need to hear the voices of those in the front line of climate change, those whose land and water is threatened by fossil fuel industry pollution, and those fighting for climate jobs. We need solidarity from all parts of society, as we saw in the unprecedented mobilisation against Trump’s UK visit this summer. The government of Poland wants to suppress the voice of civil society, but we will speak out and send a clear message to our own government to act on climate now.

Speakers (more to be announced soon)

Clive Lewis MP, Labour Party

Sian Berry, co-leader, Green Party

Richard Roberts, fracking direct action campaigner whose recent prison sentence was overturned

Paul Allen, Zero Carbon Britain

Brazilian Women Against Fascism

Nita Sanghera, Vice President, UCU

Can you help?

Flyers now available – email info@campaigncc.org

We need volunteer stewards on the day! Sign up here


Plan for the day (note changes sometimes need to be made for practical reasons nearer the time)

Assemble from 12pm near the Polish Embassy on Portland Place.

Rally with speeches 12.30-1.30.

March to Downing Street, where the Frack Free United open letter / declaration against fracking will be handed in.

At around 2.30 there will be two or three brief closing speeches, wrap up by 3pm

Date: Saturday, December 1, 2018 – 12:00 to 16:00
1 2 3