To Transport for London: Keep Uber’s drivers and passengers safe

Sign petition here.

Last year GMB won a landmark employment tribunal against Uber, which ruled that its drivers were not self-employed contractors but employed workers – and were therefore entitled to the national minimum wage, sickness and holiday pay.

This important case has major implications for more than 30,000 drivers across England and Wales. Many of our drivers are working long hours for less than national minimum wage in order to try and make ends meet. Drivers working excessive hours is bad for drivers, bad for passengers and bad for Londoners.

Uber refuses to accept they’re an employer and has appealed. That means they still refuse to pay their drivers a living wage, give paid rest breaks or abide by laws that limit the number of hours they work. It’s wrong for Uber not to live up to its responsibilities, and none of us wants worn-out drivers on our roads.

Transport for London (TfL) is in charge of renewing Uber’s 5 year license to operate in London, and they’re going to make a decision on it this summer. Today, GMB, the union for Uber drivers, has called on TfL not to renew the license unless Uber guarantee safe working practices and basic employment rights.

Together we can remind TfL of their obligations to all Londoners and not just to Uber’s powerful lobbyists. Sign the petition to tell TfL to keep Uber drivers and passengers safe.

Massive Court Victory: Employment Tribunal Fees Ruled Illegal

The case was taken by the UNISON trade union, which successfully argued that the fees – which can be as high as £1,200 per case — prevented many workers from gaining justice at work.20258126_928598360611760_5349853763245492798_n

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“This is a massive win for working people. Congratulations to UNISON for doggedly pursuing this case. Today’s result shows the value of working people standing together in trade unions.

“Too many low-paid workers couldn’t afford to uphold their rights at work, even when they’ve faced harassment or have been sacked unfairly.

“Tribunal fees have been a bonanza for bad bosses, giving them free rein to mistreat staff. Any fees paid so far should be refunded as soon as possible.”

More on Touchstone Blog: http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2017/07/employment-tribunal-fees-found-unlawful/

Unison website: https://www.unison.org.uk/news/2017/07/massive-win-union-massive-win-workers/

 

 

 

A Response to the CELS Report

Dear Sir

 ttendance at council meetings often opens the lid on how our Councils are run. The Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding committee of Barnet Council on 18 July was no exception.

 1                     The order paper ran to 260 pages. Clearly this committee is overburdened with responsibilities. It needs to be subdivided. “Children” included a damning indictment by an Ofsted report of Barnet’s acknowledgedly inadequate children’s services. Pages 240/241 described the council’s aim to deliver quality services, the statutory duties of the Council and the risk management necessary. Thus councillors are informed of the appalling risks being taken by pursuing illegal policies. Yet they have been doing this as part of a mistaken library strategy since 2002, unchecked by either the Secretary of State for Culture or by rumblings from opposition councillors, the media or the Four Barnet Bloggers who, in response to the Ofsted revelations, have called upon the Chair Reuben Thompstone to resign.

2                     The meeting dwelt at length on the Ofsted report. Chris Munday, the Strategic Director for Children and young People, was questioned by members of the committee on current plans to improve services.

3                     The imminent time bomb was left ticking of how library services, arguably in breach of the council’s statutory duty under the 1964 Act to provide a comprehensive and efficient public library service, are currently the subject of a report by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to the Secretary of State for Culture Karen Bradley. Watch this space.

4                     Clearly lots to do. Islington in contrast to Barnet received an Ofsted report on its outstanding leadership, so good models are at hand.

5                     The CELS committee has four co-opted members. It would benefit hugely by co-opting pillars of the community with local experience rather than employing expensive consultants without such local knowledge.

Keith Martin

Support Disabled People’s Right to Ride!

1537f6ab-d6c5-45d6-8271-fb704371d8faOn this Thursday 20th July TSSA and DPAC members and supporters will be travelling together en masse to the Department for Transport’s headquarters in London to deliver a petition demanding the right to ride. This is a part of DPAC’s week of action – to coincide with the holding of the para-athletics championships in London.

Assemble outside the Department for Transport at 2pm.
Department for Transport Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London W1P 4DR

Petition: Stopping the use of Glyphosate in public spaces

Stop-Glyphosate-1200x521We the undersigned petition the council to stop using Glyphosate on pavements, green spaces and anywhere else where Barnet LB currently uses Glyphosate, and employ environmentally friendly methods of weed control.

The World Health Organisation has stated that it is highly probable that Glyphosate is carcinogenic.
Glyphosate is also an endocrinal disruptor affecting our hormones, and also kills microbes thus being detrimental to intestinal flora.
As it is chemically stable, Glyphosate is highly detrimental to the environment, being accumulated the higher up the food chain you go. As it is soluble in water, it is highly damaging to all forms of aquatic life and soil organisms, including earthworms.
Many other countries have banned or severely restricted Glyphosate, for example Sri Lanka, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, to name a few.
In the UK, many local authorities have also banned or severely restricted Glyphosate, including Shaftesbury, Hammersmith and Fulham, Glastonbury, Aberdeen and Edinburgh,
We believe it is time that Barnet followed the lead that others have shown and protected our environment and public health for the future.
 
****************************** ****************************** ****************************** *
 
For more information please go to:
 This also includes links to UK local authorities who have banned or severely restricted Glyphosate, including infos on alternatives to Glyphosate.

Press Release – A joint statement from the Barnet Bloggers

“There are widespread and serious failures in the services provided to children and their families in Barnet. Inspectors identified a legacy of widespread poor practice and ongoing systemic failures and services that neither adequately ensure the safety, nor promote the welfare of children and young people”. 

Ofsted Inspection Report on Barnet Children’s Service July 2017

Over nearly a decade of scrutiny by Barnet bloggers, we have investigated and reported the seemingly endless sequence of scandals, blunders, and political folly created by Barnet’s Conservative councillors. The incomprehensible tale of the MetPro fiasco, the disgraceful confiscation of travel passes for disabled residents, the cutting of vital respite care for children at Mapledown School, which cares for children with profound disabilities, the illegal CPZ parking charges, are only some of the many examples of administrative incompetence – and worse – that we have exposed and pursued.

 In all this time, in response to all of these disastrous situations, not one Conservative member has taken responsibility for the failure in services to what are very often the most vulnerable members of our community.

No one could be more vulnerable than a child: especially a child in care, whose well being has become the responsibility of the local authority, standing as a corporate parent.

Yet now we see the emergence of a most damning report from OFSTED, one that slates the provision of care services in Barnet for such children: a report that should shame any local authority, and would – anywhere else but in Barnet.

“The vast majority of care planning is ineffective. There is a lack of focus on measuring progress for children or their outcomes. When there is no progress, this is not re-evaluated or escalated effectively. This leads to drift and delay. This is particularly stark for a significant number of children who are victims of chronic long-term neglect and emotional abuse, who do not have the impact of this risk recognised, responded to or reduced, despite spending long periods subject to child protection planning … ”.

“Young people who go missing from care receive a poor service, because social workers do not find out enough about the risks to them. This means that young people who go missing are not always kept safe enough from dangers, such as gangs or adults sexually exploiting them”.

In any circumstances where there has been proven wrongdoing, or a failure in standards, it is usually the case, in Barnet, that officers are held responsible, and those elected members tasked with the responsibility – and paid generous allowances for those duties –of overseeing the enforcement of their own policies remain distanced from the consequences of their actions. We believe that this is wrong, and that councillors should be held accountable.

In this case, we believe, the fault lies in a serious failure in leadership, oversight and scrutiny by the Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee, chaired by Conservative councillor Reuben Thompstone.

The same committee was responsible for the Mapledown cuts – later reversed, after protests from parents, and a public outcry; and was also the instrument of approval for the devastating programme of cuts to our library service, presented to residents as mere ‘refurbishment’, but which has seen the closure of children’s libraries, and the removal of access for under sixteen year olds from any library operating the newly unstaffed hours.

It seems to us that under this Conservative administration, children are seen not as our most precious asset, but an easy target for cuts, and the lowering of standards meant to ensure their protection, and wellbeing.

In 2014 Tory members approved a cost cutting restructuring of Family Services which has resulted in the use of agency social workers soaring from none in 2013, to £3.05 million per annum in 2016/17.

With the average agency social worker staying just 202 days, there has been a constant turnover of staff, and throughout this period, Children’s Services have been under constant pressure to meet the budget savings forecast.

We believe that pressure on budgets for local social workers responsible for ensuring the safety of young people has lead to the near destruction of the service, and a situation where there are simply not the resources to ensure vulnerable young people are given the life chances they deserve.

This cannot possibly be in the best interests of the children of this borough.

We therefore make the following suggestions:

1.     That there must be a full open, transparent, and independent public inquiry into what went wrong.

2.     This inquiry must include a forensic audit of all correspondence between the Conservative administration and officers, regarding Children’s Services, to ensure that political interference has not, and cannot in future, prejudice the standard of care.

3.     This inquiry should be concluded prior to May 2018, to allow the people of Barnet to pass their own judgement on the administration.

4.     We call for the resignation of the Councillor in charge of Children’s Services, Cllr Reuben Thompstone.

Signed,

Derek Dishman (http://lbbspending.blogspot.co.uk/)

John Dix (http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/)

Theresa Musgrove (http://wwwbrokenbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/)

 

Notes to Editors.

  1. This blog has been jointly written by the four Barnet bloggers in response to the recently released OFSTED report into Barnet Council childrens services.
  2. All four Barnet Bloggers are listed as  Guardian Top London bloggers – https://www.theguardian.com/uk/series/dave-hill-top-london-bloggers  – and their work as “armchair auditors” has been recognised by the former local government minister Eric Pickles.

All queries : Roger Tichborne 07754 910425 or for individual queries by email to the bloggers email listed in the CC line

1 2 3 4 28