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
Contact details: John Burgess Barnet UNISON on 07738389569 or 0208 359 2088 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
- Legal Services
- Registrars & Nationality Services
- Music Trust
- Public Health
- Mortuary 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
- Library Services
- Adults & Communities services
- Street Scene Services e.g. Waste & Recycling, Street Cleansing, Parks and Transport
- Education & Skills and School Meals services.
Disappearing Council – short animation https://youtu.be/YQ5t63fSu-
“The easyCouncil Loco-motion” https://youtu.be/Wi0bdgofsmM