Barnet Council to pull out of major care homes contract after its failure to deliver adequate services

Barnet Council has publicly announced plans to pull out of a major contract which was responsible for delivering three key care homes – Meadowside, Apthorp Lodge and Dellfield Court. The provider of these services has begun to enter into TUPE consultations with a view to handing over its care homes to the 100% council owned company, Your Choice Barnet.

This follows a damning report issued by the Care Quality Commission into Apthorp Care Centre, in Brunswick Park, that Barnet published in January 23 2019, which deemed the service inadequate – and placed the care home into special measures. The report followed an unannounced inspection in December 2018.

The CQC report highlighted that the Centre was understaffed, saying that under-staffing levels had “a significant impact on people’s dignity. For example, we observed two people, on separate occasions, had soiled themselves and were walking through communal areas of the flats.” Fremantle has a poor record on ensuring staff and worker well being – having in the past proposed reducing care workers’ basic salary by 20-25%, bringing care worker pay down to well below the London Living Wage.

Adults and Social Care spokesperson for the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Reema Patel said,

“This sorry state of affairs illustrates two things. Firstly, the Council needs to urgently review its approach to securing high quality services that ensure worker well being. Secondly, it highlights the extent to which national cuts to social care funding are proving impossible to manage. We welcome the return of care homes to council control, but more is required – increased investment in social care funding in particular.”

For more information contact:

Cllr Reema Patel: 07398 220 745

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

Workers’ Memorial Day 2019

Workers’ Memorial Day has always been to “remember the dead: fight for the living” and unions are asked to focus on both areas, by considering events or memorial to remember all those killed through work but at the same time ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated. That can best be done by building trade union organisation, and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health & safety laws.

Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government.

The theme for 2019

Theme for the day is: “dangerous substances – get them out of the workplace”. The focus will mainly be on carcinogens but you can adapt the theme to whatever is most relevant in your workplace or area, as many substances can also cause illnesses such as asthma or dermatitis.

Two important issues are of course asbestos and diesel exhaust, and the TUC has useful guides on both of them, but other ideas may be cleaning fluids or dust in general – Asbestos – time to get rid of it (pdf), Diesel exhaust in the workplace (pdf), Occupational cancer (pdf)

The TUC has a guide on workplace cancers.

 

Barnet says Goodbye to Fremantle

Barnet UNISON has just been informed that the Fremantle Trust is to enter into TUPE consultations to hand over the running of its care homes: Meadowside, Apthorp Lodge and Dellfield Court to Your Choice Barnet.

We welcome this transfer as a positive step in the right direction. Your Choice Barnet is 100% owned by the Council which places the running of the homes under greater local accountability. We will do all we can to continue to represent our members who have consistently done their best to deliver support to vulnerable residents, often under difficult circumstances.

We believe there are now real opportunities to address the concerns of staff and residents in a positive and constructive way and look forward to working with Your Choice Barnet to achieve this.

The transfer of staff and services is planned to take place at the beginning of July 2019.

Barnet UNISON has already approached Your Choice Barnet in preparation for formal TUPE transfer meetings which will be looking to take place shortly.

Welcome home from Barnet Alliance for Public Services

Monday, 1st April 2019 was officially the first day back in-house for formerly outsourced Capita Finance and Human Resources staff.

VIDEO HERE

This means the first stage of Barnet councillors’ review of the Capita contracts has been completed.
Barnet council is locked in two draconian contracts with Capita, which were a bad deal for residents and workers from the start. The borough saw a huge waste of public money and a steady deterioration of services’ provision across the board, evident in Barnet’s dirty streets, shocking state of disrepair of its roads and pavements and inaccessibility of the council’s Customer Services to name just a few problems.


After years of campaigning, some Barnet residents, members of Barnet Alliance for Public Services and the #KickOutCapita campaign, welcomed back the workers on their first day back into the council.
By this the residents also sent a very clear message to Barnet Council: We want to see the return of ALL the former council services currently provided by Capita back in-house without delay.

We will not give up campaigning until all of the services return in-house!
#OurBarnet @BarnetAlliance

Windrush, Racism and the Hostile environment: meeting last Monday with campaigning lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie

Although Diane Abbott was not able to attend the meeting last minute, due to the ongoing parliamentary Brexit deadlock, Barnet TUC and Barnet Momentum were very privileged to have an inspiring and heartfelt speech from one of the hardest working human rights lawyers in Britain. Jacqueline McKenzie has been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of the so-called Windrush Generation, a group of people affected by systemic injustice that, as she reminded the audience, most of the public only really became aware of this time last year.

SEE VIDEO OF MEETING

McKenzie took us through some of the terrible cases she has had to deal with, involving people who frequently had no idea that their rights to remain in Britain were under threat, suddenly facing threats to their very lives and basic safety due to being deported to countries they frequently hardly knew. The background to this, she explained has been decades of increasingly severe nationality legislation. Although Theresa May’s term as Home Secretary may have ushered in the worst of it, the sad truth is both major parties have contributed over time to laws that disadvantage mainly from from majority non-white countries. This disproportionately affects the poorest and most disadvantaged of those people, who are least able to to pursue ever more complex processes to prove that they can live and work in Britain. Although many of the high profile cases have concerned Caribbean and African people, McKenzie warned that many more people can and will be affected. She cited the recent decision by current Home Secretary Sajid Javid to strip so-called “ISIS bride” Shamima Begum of British citizenship as an example of the rules being made unnecessarily tougher yet again: Begum is a defenceless teenager, with no real hope of making a life in her parents’ native Bangladesh, and taking British nationality from her has been cruel and unjust decision that too many have been slow to oppose.

We left the meeting in no doubt that our movement must to much more to fight racist, discriminatory and repressive immigration laws, and there was an impassioned plea for the event to be a starting point for greater anti-racist activity in our borough by Stand Up to Racism.

Raise the National Living Wage

Having a job should guarantee your family doesn’t live in poverty. 

But right now that’s not the case. Millions of working people are trapped in low paying, insecure work with no path out.

Not only is the percentage of those in poverty living in a working household at its highest since records began, but so is the percentage of children from working households living in poverty.

Theresa May might think this is fine, but we don’t.

Raising the National Living Wage to £10 per hour would give a pay rise to 4 million people. That’s why today, on the 20th anniversary of the minimum wage, we’re calling on the Prime Minister to take action.

Add your name.

I support £10 per hour for all workers.

This pay rise would go a long way to ensuring those on the lowest wages have enough to pay the bills, put food on the table and find somewhere permanent to live.

Millions of people in working families are living in poverty and this isn’t an accident. The system has been designed to benefit a few, while the rest struggle to afford the basics.

The minimum wage was a victory for union campaigning. It will only continue to rise if we take a stand.

Add your name.

I support £10 per hour for all workers.

We were told it would bankrupt the country. Instead it gave workers earning as little as 90p per hour a fair deal.

20 years on, the fight to end working poverty goes on. Workers need a £10 minimum wage now.

Respond to the waste plan

Please add your name, below, in support of our response to the draft North London Waste Plan (NLWP). We’re calling for Pinkham Way to be removed.

This submission is the culmination of 8 years of work and your activism.

It documents in detail the disgraceful disregard that’s been shown for evidence and planning process, and for us as residents.

The councils and waste authority ignore our evidenced arguments, but soon we’ll have the attention of an independent Planning Inspector.

Make sure all you’ve done so far is followed through with maximum impact. Add your name, and, if you haven’t already, please help us pay for professional consultants.

Please sign by midnight on Wednesday 10 April. Every adult (18+) in your household can sign individually.

Your name will count as your submission to the NLWP; please do not make any additional individual submission. You can read an overview of our submission to the NLWP.

 

Ronnie Kasrils: ‘Legacies of the Anti-Apartheid Movement

10 April 2019, 18.30-20.30 

SOAS University of London
SOAS main building, Kamran Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT 139)

Speaker: Ronnie Kasrils 
Ronald “Ronnie” Kasrils was a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa from 1987 to 2007, after having played a central role in the struggle against apartheid in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.

About the event
Evolution of Struggle is a series of events about the anti-apartheid movement in the UK. For decades, thousands of people across the UK (and far beyond) dedicated years of their lives to anti-apartheid campaigns, in solidarity with South Africans fighting against this cruel and oppressive system.

Ronnie Kasrils, a key figure in the South African struggle against apartheid, will reflect on the role that solidarity movements, such as the Anti-Apartheid Movement in the UK, played in the struggle against institutionalised racism and oppression in South Africa, and the lessons those experiences can lend to activists and campaigners today.

This event is hosted by SOAS PalSoc. For more information about our Evolution of Struggle project, see https://www.evolutionofstruggle.com/

Tickets are FREE for UK students and university staff at any UK university.

Book your free ticket as a UK student or university staff.

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