Tuesday, November 20, 2007

LABOUR MP condemns 'disgraceful attack upon' UNISON trade unionists

14 November 2007 in parliament John McDonnell MP met trade union activists who have been taking action in opposition to the consequences of privatisation
and marketisation of our public services, including Karen Reissmann, Michael Gavan and the employees of Fremantle providing care services in the London Borough of Barnet.

Following the meeting, John McDonnell said;

"The dismissal of Manchester UNISON health service activist Karen Reissmann is a disgraceful attack upon a trade unionist speaking out against marketisation of the health service. The continuing disciplinary action against Newham UNISON Branch Chair Michael Gavan is an attempt to stifle opposition to the privatisation of local government services. TheFremantle workers are combating the consequences of privatisation for their pay and conditions."

John McDonnell MP has tabled an

Early Day Motion 276

calling for the reinstatement of Karen Reissmann, the dropping of disciplinary charges against Michael Gavan and the restoration of the pay and conditions of the Fremantle workers, and for the Government to call a halt to the privatisation of public services.

Check out the Early Day Motion 276 and make sure YOUR MP has signed

There will a lobby of MPs and rally in support of all three cases on
Tuesday 11th December 2007
7.30 pm Committee Room 9.

Whats's going on in Barnet UNISON Branch Part Two?

Barnet UNISON College team

Cost of living pay increase: Barnet College have said they will respond with something next week, so watch this space !

Moving day (ie. time off for moving house). Barnet College are now saying this has to be taken out of annual leave

Details of revised S188 package and timeline for consultation on next round of voluntary redundancies. Also revised list of posts identified as potential redundancies. So far there has been no further update since our meeting with HR in September

Proposed ACAS workshop: A Joint Trade Union Letter has been sent to the College last week. We are waiting for the Principal to agree a time to meet with ACAS and the College.

Proposed move of Reprographics to central location at GP and proposed outsourcing of service. Margaret Roberts UNISON rep is dealing with Health and Safety issues. We are still waiting for a response to our request to meet to discuss the possible privatisation of the reprographics service.

Pro-rata annual leave after 5 years service- this is the issue where it used to be custom and practice to grant the extra annual leave on the anniversary of 5 years' service, but now HR are saying that it is granted on the start of the next leave year

The potential closure of MR: to date UNISON have not received any update on this from Management

Equal Pay

Recent Equal Pay questionnaire was sent out to all members. UNISON recently announced an Equal Pay claim in Cumbria [FULL STORY] http://www.unison.org.uk/equalpay/news_view.asp?did=3833


The drive for further efficiencies along with the recently passed Local Government While Paper signals the Governments intent to try and move as much as they can out to the private and voluntary sector.

All Council services are under pressure to deliver quality and value for money. In relation to staff, there is a procedure which needs to be followed. At the beginning staff and the Trade Unions must be involved in the Options Appraisal stage. We are currently involved in a number of procurement processes of services already privatised/ about to be privatised/ retendered / or discussing options

Our list is as follows
Security, Supporting People, Cleaning Contractors, Recycling, Vehicle Workshop, Connexions/Prospects/ Print Unit, Meals at Home / Red Cross
IF you work in any of these or there are discussions about your workplace and your workplace is not on our list please email our office at contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

What we don’t need is another Fremantle…..do we?
It is bad for the staff, bad for the service, and bad business for the Council.

What’s going on in Barnet UNISON Branch Part One ?

Pay Award

When are we going to get paid?
I believe that the Council is currently trying to ensure the back pay and the new rate of pay is in this months pay packet!

Council budget settlement

No news yet but word on the corridors is that it could be one of the worst yet…..we will notify/ consult with members as soon as we are formally consulted. In terms of timescales we should hear before the Full Council meeting on 18 December 2007.

Just in case it is bad news make sure you hear the news direct from our employers by attending the Council meeting on 18 December 2007.

Human Resources
You may have noticed over the last year a lot of change in relation to who you need to speak to in Human Resources. This is because of the restructure which must be one of the longest restructures I have ever experienced. It has clearly had an impact on staff morale. We are coming to the final part of the restructure and hope sometime early 2008 the new look HR service will be in place.

What’s happening in Burnt Oak????

As we all know the Council is moving the majority of it’s office staff into the NLBP complex. However it has always been recognised the need for services in the west of the borough.

Burnt Oak Library is to be revamped and will provide a host of services to the public. UNISON is involved in the consultation and will ensure that our members working in the area are fully involved in the process, the lead UNISON officer for this piece of work will be Tracey Lowe. If you are UNISON member and you have heard you may be working over there and have questions please ring the UNISON office on 0208 359 2088/2083 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Branch Meetings

16 January 2007 12.30 to 1.30 pm in Conference room Building 2 make sure you put this in YOUR diary

Annual General Meeting Thursday 6 March 2008.
It is important that at least once a year you come along to meet your branch officers and listen to what has been done and what needs doing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fremantle Care Worker Rally 10 Nov 2007 Speeches

Eric Lee - LabourStart editor

Relative of a former resident of one of the homes

Geoff Martin former UNISON London Region Convenor

Jon Rogers UNISON NEC delegate

Linda Perks - UNISON London Regional Secretary

Andrew Dismore - Labour MP Hendon

Stan Davison (Chair of Barnet 55 Plus Forum)


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fremantle Strike, March and rally - short report

What a day it began early 6 o’clock wake up and 7 am outside one of the five Fremantle Care. As expected Fremantle sent their senior managers to all settings. I wonder what rate they were paid for being there early morning? I suppose it doesn’t matter, they are clearly not enduring the sort of financial hardship the Fremantle Care Workers are facing as a result of the draconian cuts made 1 April 2007.

It seems a long time ago since the dismissal threat issued by Fremantle on 1 April this year. Lest we forget, Fremantle insisted that staff had to sign a statement agreeing to these cuts; otherwise they would be sacked . Good piece of PR? Is that how an employer, especially a Charity treats its staff?

Back to the events today. It was a great success, trade unions from across London came with their colleagues, family members and friends and joined in a fun march down Watling Street. I am sure the residents of Burnt Oak are now aware of Fremantle, and how badly they are treating some of their fellow members of the community.

The march finished at St Alphage Church hall. I wonder what Saint Alfege would have made of all this. He met a terrible end at the hands of Danish pirates. His body was moved by King Canute to Canterbury Cathedral and placed beneath the North side of the High Altar; a memorial slab now marks the spot where his tomb was. The anniversary of his martyrdom (St Alfege's Day) is 19 April.!

Back to the speeches, speaker after speaker came up to express their support and praise for the Fremantle Care Workers for their refusal to go quietly !
We heard that over 50,000 Trade unionists around the world are regularly checking in to the LabourStart website to hear news of the campaign.

Heather Wakefield National Secretary for Local Government sent a message of support to Fremantle Care workers “Your campaign has been the best possible response to the worst possible example of privatisation. It is scandalous that our members and vulnerable people should be at the mercy of a dogmatic love affair with the private sector which leaves service users and staff high and dry on a whim”

Two important news items which were fully supported by the Fremantle Care Workers Rally

First Karen Riessmann who was sacked earlier this week. The rally condemed the sacking and sent solidarity greetings to Karen and the members taking industrial action in defence of Karen.
Second we had Michael Gavan, Branch Chair of Newham Local Government. Michael has been suspended for the last three months for representing his members!
His disciplinary started last week and was adjourned until 19 November. The meeting expressed strong support for Michael and his branch.
Both these campaigns have the fullest backing from UNISON
Lot’s more to report but for now a few pictures which captured the day
fuller report later this week.

Diwali Mubarak - Fremantle Care Workers Strike, March and Rally 10 November 2007

One of our Picket lines....................................

Getting ready to march.......................

March in full swing.................................

Local Labour MP Andrew Dismore along with local Labour councillors and Stan Davison from the over 55s Forum

Thursday, November 08, 2007

UNISON National Local Government Service Group Executive message of support to Fremantle Care workers

Heather Wakefield National Secretary Local Government Service Group sending message of support from the Local Government Service Group Executive

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Government Minister for Social Care hears about Fremantle campaign.......!

Barnet UNISON were invited to present a workshop at the UNISON National Social Care Forum on privatisation in Social Care. No guessing what the topic of the workshop....................Fremantle!

Before the workshops began, Ivan Lewis Minister for Social Care addressed the Forum. Afterwards we had some time to talk to him about our campaign. We asked him what the Government should do when Third Sector employers contracted to provide public services wipe out Single Status terms and conditions (Equal Pay) at the stroke of the pen.

Something must be done. All the hard work our Union has done to address Equal Pay should not be easily discarded by private employers.

He promised to speak to our UNISON Head of Local Government Heather Wakefield