For the past six years our Barnet UNISON has been engaged in an ideological struggle with our employer over service delivery models. First it was called Future Shape, then EasyCouncil and then One Barnet, and it is now being rebranded as the “Commissioning Council.”
Our branch is responsible for almost 3,000 members. In the past the majority of members would have been employed by Barnet Council but there have been major transformations in the last two decades which has seen staff transfer to other public bodies such as Barnet College and Barnet Homes or to the private sector such as Capita & NSL to name a few. In the last two years we have seen over 33 council services outsourced under the One Barnet Programme. This has presented significant challenges to our branch and more importantly to those staff who transferred to a new employer.
I have to report that for the majority of those transferring it has meant a significant change to their terms & conditions and, sadly, in the case of the Capita CSG contract 130 redundancies (although we are still hoping this number will reduce). What is key for any member facing a cut to pay or redundancy is that they have their union to support and represent them either in formal consultation or 1:1 meetings.
Our branch negotiated an agreement which ensured the branch was still able to represent our members; this was included in all of the outsourced One Barnet contracts. Unfortunately I have to report that the Council has deliberately targeted the Trade Unions by removing Facility Time funding at the Council budget meeting on 4 March 2014.
To view details on the cut to our Facility Time click on our Petition https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-gagging-local-unions-in-barnet-council
The latest position is that the Facility Time pot has been removed and we are waiting for a meeting to discuss how we are going to be able to represent our members working in Barnet Council and their Service Delivery partners.