Thursday, July 17, 2008

Barnet UNISON on the march in central London!

On our way to the march and rally in central london

Setting off

Pictures from two days of strike in Barnet

Phil, Michelle and Wendy UNISON Schools members supporting the Strike

All three members are teaching assistants in an infant school. None of them are full time and none of them could afford to lose two days pay. BUT the impact of year on year pay cuts meant they felt they had to send a message to Gordon Brown that it is simply not good enough!
Just like TA's around the country they work well beyond their contracted hours because they love the kids and they love the job. But they have to pay bills like everyone else. They just want a Fair Wage.
"The offer from the Government is derisory , its a pay cut, what does 20p an hour mean to me?" (one of the teaching assistants)

Tales from the Picket Line

One story that has captured my admiration is Dan.

Dan is a UNISON member working in Refuse as a Refuse loader/driver. Dan was our only UNISON member in Refuse until yesterday. On the first day of the strike he showed tremendous courage by taking action when his colleagues in the GMB went into work. (The GMB accepted the 2.45% offer). It would have been easy for Dan to go into work, BUT he felt he had to back his Union.
“What do I pay my subs for? I want to belong to a Union that fights to get the best deal for its members!” (Dan)

The second part of Dan’s story is that several GMB members working in refuse decided that they would not cross the picket line. On both days we had GMB refusing to cross the picket lines. Locally our relationship with GMB is very strong.
The GMB Convenor Paul Coles stood on the Picket line for both days and joined us on the march and rally in central London.

What happens next?
UNISON will be in talks with the National Employers and we may here news sometime over the summer. We heard at the rally in central London that the NUT and PCS were going to be balloting for further strike action in the Autumn, so if we are asked to take further strike action is could mean we may have other Trade Unions on the Picket line with us!

John - UNISON rep on Strike

"I want to thank all my officers, stewards and most importantly Barnet UNISON members for their efforts to make this a successful strike in Barnet. Clearly it was not an easy decision for members to lose two days pay. I am humbled when some of our lowest paid members turn out to back the strike. They are the ones who are going to have the most difficulty yet they recognise that the Union is doing what they want it to do…..fighting for them!"
John is Branch Secretary for Barnet UNISON

Angus - UNISON Officer on Strike

"It is quite simple we are falling further and further behind inflation we had no option but to back our Unions call for strike action. I am also worried about the talk about the future for all Council workers in Barnet. I was around when we had CCT and from what I have seen so far we seemed to have learnt nothing from the disasters of CCT. "
Angus is Assistant Branch Secretary (JOB SHARE) for Environmental Services

Paul Coles - GMB Convenor Brent & Hendon Branch

"Although the GMB accepted the offer I believe in showing solidarity for UNISON members who are striking for fair pay for all Council workers. I give them my support."

Julie - UNISON member on Strike

"If you have a Union that stands up for you, then you should support them, I am proud my union is fighting to get us all a fair wage. Of course I am concerned with the increasing cost of living, maybe 2.45% is ok if you are on £60,000 but it is nothing if you are on £15,000! I am worried for the winter, how am I going to sleep at night if I can’t afford to put on the heating!”
Julie is a security collection officer

Kofi - UNISON member on Strike

"UNISON is here for me and I am here for my Union. I am struggling like everyone else to cope with the increase cost of living. We must get a decent wage that is why I am on strike today."
Kofi is a Civil Enforcement Officer (Parking Attendant)

Dan - UNISON member on Strike

"I’m here because I can’t afford not to be. Every day is a struggle I have a young child but I can’t afford not to back my Union when it asked me to strike for a fair wage.
Its about doing the right thing……………I can’t afford to keep taking pay cuts!"

On a serious note. I would like to add that While i couldn't afford the strike i new that it was the right thing to do. Every day I struggle with the latest bills. While this strike will have an impact on my pocket over the next month, I ask the ones that did decide to cross the picket line this. "are you prepared to continue to struggle over the next 3 years"? As inflation increases our pockets are set to only get lighter. Life will always be a struggle when it comes to money. Enless you get lucky, It does not mean that you have to stuggle to the point that you have nothing at the end of it. Lets back our union. Unison really proved to me yesterday that my montly payment was worth every penny. To everyone that striked- "Our loss of 2 days pay will hurt us at different levels, Some may be worse off than others, all i can say is this. Its been worth it and i hope the ones that crossed the picket line will look up to us and maybe join us next time.
Daniel Stringer
Dan is a Refuse Loader Driver working for Barnet Council.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

UNISON Calling...................!

Dear Colleagues

On the 16, 17 July it is important that each and every UNISON member working for the Council supports the strike action.

This is a crucial moment for local government pay negotiations. For the past eight years YOUR Pay has consistently fallen below inflation, if we don’t make a stand now we will have another 3 years of Pay cuts.

Some members have asked why 2.45% Pay Offer when it is widely know the National Employers have budgeted for a 2.5% Award. The answer is simple, the National Employer is looking to squeeze every single drop out of the workforce.

Be clear, every member who crosses the Picket Line will be recorded in the Government Statistics as a supporter of the National Employers and more importantly as supporting the 2.45% Pay Offer.

Sometimes we have to make sacrifices, remember the Pension Strike?

If we had not taken action it is highly unlikely we would still have a Final Salary Pension.

On Wednesday evening everyone will be looking for the press reports on the BBC.

Make sure you are part of the news by supporting the strike and joining the march in central London.

We have a branch meeting on

Tuesday 15 July at 12.30 in room 6, Building 2 NLBP.

Come along with a friend or colleague to hear what you can do

John Burgess
Branch Secretary

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Support the Strike for Fair Pay


Supporting the Strike Action on 16 , 17 July