Monday, July 23, 2007

Watch the Fremantle Care Workers

What a day what an inspiration
Check out what happened today at

Fremantle Care Workers - Inspirational!

Fremantle Care Workers began their second 24 hour stoppage today.........................
Don't forget to sign the Petition at

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Carmel Reynolds UNISON Fremantle Convenor speaks out

Dear Colleagues,
How do you feel now after our first day of strike action?

We are still here, alive and well and now very much looking forward to the next day of action. Yes, there will be more opportunities to show Fremantle and Catalyst Housing that when they take away what we worked for they seriously upset us. They do not like us when we are upset because we loudly draw attention to the facts which Fremantle would like to keep hidden. Next time there will be even more of us out there on the picket lines because all our UNISON members now realize how strong and committed we are.

Did you read the Notice from the Chief Executive?

That’s a lot of positive spin from up there in Aylesbury! In reality you and I know extra staff had to be moved in to cover our shifts. More agency staff than usual were required, and even some Managers worked as duty officers. I have heard that some managers even resorted to using the old guilt trip to try and persuade staff not to strike.

Carole is wrong when she writes “that you have been rather misled” None of us are been led anywhere. We are all still here and adult enough to show Fremantle that what they did is wrong, and we are mature enough to show them how to put it right!

Fremantle are the ones who refused to negotiate further and went ahead with their vicious cuts. We are not vicious or vindictive but we are now very angry and we will not give up or go away. To our UNISON colleagues who did not join us on the picket lines or at the rally, we know you felt a bit frightened and maybe even intimidated. Now you can see how we support each other. It feels very good and empowering when you know you have done something positive to get back what is rightfully yours.

See you on the picket lines on Monday 23 July 2007

Carmel Reynolds
Fremantle UNISON

Barnet UNISON National Pay reminder

Fremantle Care Workers Strike 23 July 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Equal Pay Lobby 10 July 2007

Equal pay in Local Government - EDM 1775

That this House acknowledges that equal pay between women and men is a legal right under UK and EU law; is concerned that despite the best efforts of trade unions, women in local government continue to be unlawfully underpaid; notes that the lack of financial help offered to local authorities to assist with the funding of single status has led to a crisis in local government over equal pay; welcomes the single status funding lobby organised by UNISON, GMB and TGWU on 10th July; and calls on the Government to provide sufficient funding through a good financial settlement for local government in September 2007s Comprehensive Spending Review to enable councils to carry out pay and grading reviews and provide equal pay in local government.

Please check if YOUR MP has signed it

I can confirm that 2 ( Andrew Dismore & Rudi Vis ) out 3 Barnet MPs have signed it.

Please check out this short video post of the day

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Barnet College UNISON team


Barnet College would like to introduce its new Health & Safety reps. They are Eileen Hagger-Street, Margaret Roberts and Gary Stuart. Here they tell us a little bit about themselves.

Job title: Senior Learning Resources Adviser
Contact details:
Ext. 4195 / direct: 020 8266 4195

Hello to all my colleagues. My name is Eileen Hagger-Street and I work in the Learning Centre at the Grahame Park site. I will try to fulfil the role of Health and Safety rep. to the best of my ability.

Please keep me informed of anything that causes you concern.

Job title: Senior Learning Resources Adviser
Contact details:
Ext. 2743 / direct: 020 8275 5043

I've worked at Barnet College for a number of years in a variety of departments and currently I am based at the Wood Street Learning Centre. As an H&S Rep I hope to ensure the College is a safe and healthy environment for everyone.

Job title: Senior Technician: Science / Lecturer in Science & ICT

Contact details:
Ext. 2745 / direct: 020 8275 5045

I've worked at Barnet College for just over 11 years in a variety of different roles. As an H&S Rep I hope to support the college in providing a healthy and safe working environment by providing UNISON members with information & advice and in forum with college management.

Redundancy Consultation meetings

Your UNISON Stewards Team (ie. Nadia Saccardi, Janet Mullinex, Shobhna Shah and Paul Keightley) have attended two redundancy consultation meetings with College Management - on 16th and 31st May – under the terms of Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

We will continue to monitor carefully the list of declared redundancies and ensure that the due and proper processes of the Voluntary Redundancy procedure are followed by the College.

Minutes of these meetings can be found on the MLE at:


We shall, of course, keep members informed of any further developments.

NLBP Decant

Members may now be aware that most curriculum areas currently based at WS (apart from A and D) will be decanted to Building 5 at NLBP in December as part of the Wood Street redevelopment project.

Paul Keightley is attending the Project Design Team meetings as UNISON rep. and has attended one meeting of the College Decant Planning Team.

We will ensure that any Health and Safety issues that are connected with the decant are addressed by the College, and will continue to monitor the situation.

Proposed move of Reprographics

The College is proposing moving the WS Reprographics Service to a central location at GP, with effect from September.

This would mean no reprographics presence at WS for the autumn term.

Your UNISON Health and Safety reps. are closely monitoring the H and S aspects of this proposal, and if members have concerns about the likely service impact of losing Reprographics at WS in September, they are encouraged to contact the UNISON Stewards Team.

Pensions proposals

This week you should receive a ballot paper in relation to the proposed changes to YOUR Pension.

It is important that you read the material carefully before deciding whether to support or reject the offer.
For further details on the pension can be found at

RESULTS of Challenge Y campaign

As promised every two months we will have a Prize draw of the names of those members who have recruited new members to the branch.

This month’s draw winners are

Maggi Myland
Mike Omezi
Marlene Hunter

For Challenge Y UNISON application forms contact branch office on 0208 359 2088

The next Prize draw 28 August 2007.

Environmental Services

For the last 4 years this Directorate has taken significant cuts in order for the Council to address it’s financial deficit.

Cuts not just in services but JOBs. Interestingly the services provided by the staff down the depot are high profile and subject to Barnet residents comments to their councillors if they fail to deliver.

It is important that our members working in Environmental services are fully supported by our branch.

It is important to separate the fact from the fiction. We can check out rumours. It is not in the interests of our members to be subjected to rumours especially when they are often carrying very difficult and challenging work in the community.
If any member is worried about stories they are hearing about the Depot being sold off, the service being cut, please contact the UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or contact

Adult Social Services

Individualised Care Budgets – Part 1
We are currently approaching the completion of the restructure of back office support services for adult social services. If there are still any members with any outstanding questions please contact Maggi Myland on 0208 359 2088 or email

Individualised care budgets – Part 2
For those of you not working in adult social services you may choose to skip this article I
would advise you don’t!

What does or does not happen in adult social services impacts on the whole of the Council. Adult Social Care costs are rising both locally and nationally, yet there is no sign from Government that they are going to increase funding.

The cost of Social Care is an issue for the community not just Barnet Council.

I bring this to your attention because Barnet is leading the way in how and what we provide to vulnerable members of our community. This new way or VISION as it is being called looks to change assessment and provision in a fundamental way.

More choice, more flexibility, BUT not more money. In fact it will have to be delivered with less money. IF you have caught on yet… on…….for the next 3 years this new way of working is going to have to deliver significant savings. Savings are not new to Social Services we have always had to make savings. In the past savings and I am talking £millions would be saved by has been privatised so that option is no longer available.

So, if prposed savings are not made in thios finacial year it will have to come from somewhere.

We have seen this happen elsewhere in the Council where predicted budget savings were not achieved and JOBS were CUT.

In an increasing uncertain world, inflation rising, most of us are struggling to keep up with payments for the minimum requirements e.g. rent. Mortgage, energy & food bills, council tax. Which is why UNISON is watching and scrutinising what the Council is spending money on.

Agency spend
Do we need to spend £5 million on agency staff per year?
Can we not make better use of our own existing staff?

We have been chasing the Consultancy spend figures for 5 years and we are still no nearer to know ing how much it is costing the Council. We understand the business case for bringing in a consultant to come in and carry out a short term specific piece of work, but we know there are consultants working year after year. We have nothing personally against consultants but when there is no business case or their use is not being monitored then we must raise it directly with our employers.

YOU can help.

Do you have consultant in your team? When did they start? How long have they been there?
PLEASE pass any details to

Individualised budgets - What next

1. We are seeking urgent meetings with Director of Adult Social Services.

2. We are requesting monthly meetings with the lead Council officer leading on the VISION.
3. We will also be looking to organise a meeting for UNISON members working in adult social services to discuss individualised care budgets and will be looking to invite a speaker from UNISON HQ.

Life Long Learning

Skills for Life training for Council staff continues to grow and develop at an amazing pace. Those managers who have grasped the potential opportunities for their staff and the positive impact it will have on their service delivery are queuing up to meet with our job share Life Long Learning Coordinators Carmen Bruno and Susan Timthong

For details how to access a course or to arrange a visit to you team meeting contact Carmen on or

Children’s Services

This is the largest Directorate in the Council. We are still in the early stages of the news service finding it’s feet but it is important that members contact the branch if they feel they are in need to advice and support.

Communications Team restructure.
We are currently involved in the consultation on the proposed changes to his team.

Fairway Children & Families centre
Proposals have recently been submitted to UNISON. For all those members working in this service please note Maggi Myland is the lead UNISON rep and can be contacted on 0208 359 2088

Connexions –
“OH..OKI KO KI…KO KI in out out shake it all about!”

Yes Connexions & Prospects staff who used to work for othe council are coming back in a new look service following a decision made at Cabinet meeting a few weeks ago.

UNISON members working for the above will be transferred under TUPE. UNISON will be fully involved in the process and will make sure all those members affected will be provided with information and advice as the consultation begins. We have had one meeting with the Director of Children’s Service and are awaiting a further meeting to discuss the timescale.


National Pay Framework for School Staff!

Following meetings with the former Secretary for Education Alan Johnson steps to create a National Pay structure for Support across moved closer. There is still a lot discussion and consultation with members for more details on th eUNISON website on

Nursery Nurses
Another year goes by and we appear to be no nearer to reaching a proposal for our Nursery Nurses. The request from UNISON started as far back as 2004. We were hopeful that there would be something for you all last Christmas BUT it has simply not happened.

You may hear that there is a problem where Nursery Nurses are working in Children’s family centres .But this is no excuse for not coming up with a proposal.

Nursery Nurses deserve to have career progression and need to have the work they are currently doing recognised both in terms of professional development and pay!

The Council have proposed setting up a working group....sorry but more delay.

We are advising the Council that they need to come up with a DRAFT proposal before the end of term or we will have no alternative but to start a consultative ballot of our members.

As with everything these days unless you SPEAK UP you are left waiting in the queue which is never ending.

Look out for the UNISON School newsletter which will be sent out before the end of this term.

School Staff
Our work Schools is one of the biggest in the branch. The sheer number of issues in Schools is at time quite frightening but at the same time it merely reinforces WHY ALL SCHOOL staff need to belong to UNISON.
If you have an issue in your school don’t face it alone contact our job share Schools Officers Susan Dunning & Tracey Lowe on 0208 359 2088 or email or

Resources Directorate – What’s going on out there?

HR Restructure

This has to be one of the longest restructures in my time as a UNISON activist.

It is important to any organisation to have a well organised HR department.

Barnet UNISON recognises that it is important that staff, managers, are given good, clear accurate advice which is why we are fully involved and scrutinising in the consultation process. The new HR structure ( and there have been many over the last 10 years!) is looking to go live in October this year. In the interim HR staff are combining roles.

The Trade Unions have sent a second report outlining our concerns and are awaiting feedback.

A UNISON meeting for members working in HR will be convened on receipt of feedback from senior managers to our recent report.

Barnet’s Policies and Procedures
Believe it or not but the some of the policies on the Councils intranet are out of date and need amending. Some of these amendments are minor but some can have a significant impact on staff.

Over the next 6 months the Council is going to look at policies such as annual leave, maternity leave etc.

UNISON will ensure we are fully consulted and will keep members up dated on proposals.
So watch this space………………………………!

Accommodation moves – Get on board the accommodation Carousel!
At times working in Barnet it must seem like climbing aboard a Carousel at a Fairground. The minute the ride is finished the music starts and you are moving accommodation again.

There are moves ahead for staff at Fenella, Barnet House, Building 5 NLBP and as soon as we hear we will keep members posted.

Customer Services
This service which in the past may not have had the profile it should is rapidly changing as technology changes which will bring new challenges for staff.

In the past to often staff were ‘discarded, past their sell by date’ as new technology brought new and different ways of working. Preparing for these changes by providing up to date relevant training course equips staff for the future, saves the Council money and builds the relationship between the staff and the Council ( that’s how the theory goes!)

UNISON recognises these challenges and wants to ensure staff are provided with the necessary skills. We have set meetings with staff to discuss exciting training accredited courses on IT/ communication skills.

In terms of Customer Services if there are any questions issues about your restructure then please contact the UNISON office on 028 359 2088

Big changes are ahead of staff working in Registry. For a start they are changing employer. They are being transferred into the Council. It is important that members are fully advised as to what this means to their terms and conditions.

UNISON has been contacted and is now seeking a meeting to discuss the proposals.
If you work in Registry and want to speak to a UNISON rep please contac the UNISON office on 0208 359 2088.

Summer Holidays..............................?

If you are going away this summer Barnet UNISON would like to wish you a great holiday.

Apart from the holiday season this time that the Directors group and Council start to discuss the budget settlements for the following year and the possible implications for the Council. So it is not unusual to start to hear rumours of huge cuts to services and mass redundancies.
What is important is to establish what is fact and what is rumour.
Barnet UNISON will make sure we are involved early on in the consultation process.
If you need to check something you have heard
contact the branch
on 0208 359 2088

Barnet Council's 3 R’s - Restructure, Redeployment, Redundancy

It is sad but true fact that all staff will face the 3 R’s at least once in any 18 month period!

It is therefore important that staff know how to prepare and survive.

Please note Barnet UNISON don’t always know where and when staff are facing restructures. So make sure you contact the Barnet UNISON office.

Step 1
Firstly, make sure you are a member of UNISON. Don’t wait until you are facing possible redundancy before realising you need help.

Step 2
If you hear that your team or service is going to be restructured, don’t panic. Ask your manager if the rumours are true, if you don’t want to do this then contact your local UNISON rep. If you don’t have a local rep then contact the UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 and we will check out the rumour on your behalf.

Step 2
Managing Change is the Council policy dealing with restructures/redeployment, redundancy. There is a copy on the Council’s intranet. It is worth making sure you have access to a copy.

If there is a restructure in your team, a number of things should take place. You should be consulted. If you are not being involved and you have raised it with your manager, please contact UNISON office as soon as possible.

Step 3
Consultation: Draft proposals clearly showing the existing and proposed new structure should being presented. Any changes to your job description should be made in consultation with you. At this stage make sure you let the UNISON office know that consultation has begun.

Step 4
In most restructures posts are generally deleted, jobs changed and more often than not staff have to be interviewed for the new jobs. Make sure you contact your UNISON rep or the branch on 0208 359 2088.

The Council provide interview skills training, to help staff prepare for interviews, make sure you take up this training.

Restructures can be very stressful to staff facing an uncertain future. The Council acknowledges this and now provides staff with access to free and confidential counselling through an independent organisation ‘People at Work.’ UNISON strongly recommends this service to members.

Remember you don’t have to face these changes alone.