Monday, December 17, 2007

Ken Loach Film screening with Fremantle Care Workers

Fremantle Care Workers were given an opportunity to speak to a packed audience at the East Finchley Cinema. Ken was screening his latest film, 'It's A Free World.....' which tells the story of migrant workers through Angie, a London lass, who sets up a recruitment agency with her mate Rose.

Sadly this film is based on actual events. How long can our society stand by and let the gross exploitation of the migrant work force?

Shock News - Fremantle to close on of their homes

Ho Ho Ho...Another Christmas message (no cheer) from Fremantle…..more bad news for staff and residents!

Staff working at Rosa Freedman residential and day care settings were shocked to receive a letter from the Fremantle Chief Executive Carole Sawyers to say that ‘London Borough of Barnet have announced their intention of closing residential services at Rosa Freedman Care home.

It was a big shock to staff working at the setting because only the previous week Carole Sawyers came to give her annual talk about the Future plans for Fremantle in Barnet and made no mention of the closure.

Members are also confused by the involvement of Barnet Council. Until now Barnet Council have claimed that they have no involvement in the matters affecting Fremantle staff. Carole Sawyers’ letter to staff clearly states Barnet Council are responsible for this closure. Fremantle care workers and their UNISON reps have already lobbied the Cabinet Resources committee meeting 6 December 2007, where the decision to close was ratified. Further lobbies are planned. UNISON will be raising this decision through the Councils internal procedures.

Fremantle Care Workers Xmas thank you

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Barnet UNISON host Public meeting on Individualised Budgets

Helga Pile Pat Stack Alan Desborough

On Monday night our branch arranged a meeting on Individulised Budgets (IB) . We invited staff, services users, carers, employers from the private and voluntary sector. It was interesting to note that our meeting cooincided with the government launch of IB
There is a interesting quote in th eabove article from Gordon Lishman, director general of charity Age Concern, welcomed the initiative but warned: "The project has an ambitious agenda and it will need very substantial funding if it is to deliver what it promises."
If IB means more people will have more choice and increased independence then this will be a great initiative and must be welcomed. What we must look out for is that it is used to cut money and tick boxes. politicians have been known to hijack good initiatives.

After the platform speakers finished the Chair invited contributions from the floor. There was a widwe range of issues raised but the general feedback was support for IB
We finished the meeting with a committment from Barnet UNISON to organise further meetings in the new year. It is important that IB works for the needs of residents living in Barnet and the best way to do that is to engage as many stakeholders as possible.
UNISON reps from other boroughs made a request for a Londonwide meeting on IB as it was felt local branches needed to get involved early in the process.

Superb, delicious, good quality Xmas dinner

Some of the Atrium team
Today I had a lovely christmas dinner in the Council run Atrium with some of my UNISON colleagues.
The environment is excellent and it was good to have the chance to have a few minutes away from the hectic UNISON office.

It just goes to show that Council staff can deliver good quality services!
The Atrium for those of you who do not know, only opened a few months ago. Not a lot off staff working in the building know that the Atrium is council run and the other cafe services are private.
I think it is important we support our In House team and not just because they are an In House service but for sound business reasons.
It gives value for money and greater choice.

Every penny spent in the Atrium goes direct into the Council . When you look at the budget settlements for Councils, you recognise why every penny counts in local government.

It also has a good atmosphere, I think it is important that with so many of us working on PCs, staff should take some time away from the computer screen.

So, why not take a break in the Atrium.
The staff team are great !