Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Barnet UNISON AGM 6 March 2008

A brief summary of our AGM and some of our speakers

Spot the Difference?
Cup 1

Cup 2
Check out the answer at the end of this post!
1. Schools

UNISON’s National Secretary Education and Children's Workforce Christina McAnea reported on the national negotiations for school staff. The aim is to have a national framework of pay and conditions which will apply across all types of schools, i.e. Community, Foundation and VA, only Academies would be outside this. UNISON has said this will need to have statutory underpinning so that it is enforceable in schools and the government are preparing draft legislation on this. Once a new framework has been produced and there are details of the proposals UNISON will ballot members in schools. If it is agreed school staff would transfer from the NJC conditions to the new schools conditions. She confirmed that they wanted the new framework to be able to deliver fair pay for school staff that rewards them for the jobs they actually do and that they would be able to reach an agreement on dealing with term time pay.
2. London Citizens are coming to North London.......
At our AGM last week we watched a DVD made by London Citizens which explained how they were engaging candidates for London Mayor this year; culminating in a meeting with the candidates on 9 April. After hearing from guest speaker Catherine Howard, our AGM unanimously agreed to affiliate with London Citizens. You can find out more about London Citizens at

If you would like to attend:
Wednesday 9th April
19.00 to 21.15
Storey’s Gate
Westminster SW1H 9NH
please ring the UNISON office on 0208 359 2083/2088 to book you place

3. Barnet Trades Union Council is launched!
At the AGM on 22nd April at Hendon Town Hall 7 pm the new Barnet Trades Union Council will be launched. The theme for the AGM is “defending public services in Barnet.”
'We see this as an opportunity for trade unionists living and working in Barnet to be able to take part in what is happening to their local public services; be it London Underground/Buses/Hospitals/Social Services/Schools/Colleges/Universities/Post Offices/Job & Benefit Centres. We hope that working together we can help contribute and highlight local concerns in our community.’

Invitations have gone out to leaders of the local political parties and Trade Unions/MPs along with a number of guest speakers. At the end of the meeting there will be elections for posts in Barnet Trades Union Council.
For more information contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088/2083

4. A Big Thank you

Irene Hennessey former UNISON Social Secretary receiving congratulations from Christina on her work for UNISON members & the branch. Irene has agreed to take an active role in our Retired members branch.
5. Barnet UNISON—Activist of the Year Award

Carmel Reynolds (Fremantle Convenor) and her team of UNISON reps received the Activist of the Year Award for their unrelenting dedication and hard work in running the Fremantle Care Workers dispute. The Dispute is ongoing, talks are planned later next month with Fremantle

The Fremantle dispute threw down a challenge to UNISON and its members - support those who earn the least and are affected the most when it came to the cuts in wages. All the stewards rose to that challenge and have given so much of their own time and effort in trying to get back what was stolen. Their efforts have increased as the weeks have gone by and their resolve remains as strong as ever. For that reason I salute them and the branch rightly honours them with the annual award.” Eddy Coulson Regional Officer
6. Austin Harney PCS rep speaking at the AGM
“The government imposed a 2% pay cut with many civil servants on salaries less than £20,000 p.a. With increased workloads and less staff, thousands of jobs are being cut every year. Staff morale and service delivery to the public is seriously compromised.
Only solidarity with all Trade Unions can make the difference."
7. Keith Nason - Branch Secretary National Union of Teachers (NUT)

Explained to AGM why his Union is balloting their members and that they maybe taking the first day of action on 24 April 2008. He went on to explain that it was important that all the National Unions speak together about delivering joint action if we are to tackle the 2% wage cuts being imposed by Gordon Brown.
8. March 2008 Local Government Chronicle headline -
“Two thirds ready to make job cuts!”
I can believe that this journal is not on many of our members reading list…but this article signals the start of what could be one of the most fundamental changes in Local government in a long time.
“A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows 68% plan to reduce their staff head count as one of the main ways of shaving 3% off their budgets in each of the next three years”

A particularly shocking story in the Chronicle concerns the London Borough of Hounslow

‘….goal of taking £50-62 m out of Councils budget - which will effectively be reduced by 18%. In the process the council planning to shed up to 4,000 of its staff”

What does it all mean and what is driving it?
Well firstly it means that the way the Council looks and delivers services could change dramatically. The obvious choice is privatisation, but this model whilst promising a short term and a quick fix, history has shown us it often doesn’t deliver. Not only in terms of quality but value for money. It also leave Councils vulnerable in that they lose expertise and as such are at the mercy of the market. In other words the Council are stuffed and in a poor position in terms of negotiating future contracts.

This challenge is something which cannot be ignored. Barnet UNISON will endeavour to keep members aware of any developments….
John Burgess - Branch Secretary

9. Spot the Difference Answer
Coffee cup 1 is sold at the Council run Atrium, all the money goes back into the Council.

Coffee cup 2 is sold by a private company all profits go to……

Support your In House Services - Visit the Atrium

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