Barnet UNISON members who still work for Barnet Council (‘easyCouncil’) have started 24-hour strike action today. The West Sussex branch supports our Barnet members’ action and has made a donation of £500 to its strike fund.
UNISON members in Bromley (Kent) are also taking strike action today over proposed outsourcing arrangements in the borough.
The Barnet dispute involves coach escorts, drivers, social workers, occupational therapists, schools catering staff, education welfare officers, library workers, children’s centre workers, street cleaning and refuse workers, all of whom have made it clear they want to remain employees of the Barnet Council rather than an external provider.
UNISON Barnet 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 why 87% 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.”
Over the past three years Barnet members have seen hundreds of colleagues transferred to other employers. This has often meant redundancy as the new employer has 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.