Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Barnet Unison Press release : 400 Barnet Council Workers taking Strike Action

6 September 2011


On Tuesday 13 September up to 400 UNISON members working across the following services will be taking strike action

Trading Standards & Licensing, Land Charges, Planning & Development, Building Control & Structures, Environmental Health, Highways Strategy, Highways Network Management, Highways Traffic & Development, Highways Transport & Regeneration, Strategic Planning & Regeneration, Cemeteries & Crematoria; Parking Services, Revs & Bens,

The Trades Dispute concerns the identity of the employer. Barnet Council is promoting the One Barnet programme which is just a ‘remix version’ of the ‘contracting out’ ideology from the 1980’s. There are already several contracts out for consultation with the private sector. The value of the contracts (fast approaching almost £2 billion) has already attracted the big Private sector FAT CATS.

Up to 70% of the council workforce could be transferred to the Private sector in little more than 16 months time.

Dave Prentis general secretary message to Barnet UNISON.
“To the 400 UNISON members taking strike action: UNISON members across the country are standing shoulder to shoulder with you as you challenge this council – a council that refuses to listen to its workforce, a council that refuses to listen to logic or sense, a council now embarking on a reckless gamble

“Last week our union commissioned a report on the impact of outsourcing on the council’s pension scheme. The report gave a damning assessment of the serious financial risks to the pension scheme as a direct result of One Barnet programme.

Heather Wakefield UNISON's head of local government,
'The widescale privatisation at the heart of One Barnet should be placed under the severest scrutiny by Government, Barnet's scrutiny committee and the people of Barnet themselves. The council's failure to ensure procurement procedures and the obvious detrimental impact on the Local Government Pension Scheme of privatisation of local services are just two good reasons for challenging the path that Barnet has chosen. The third is the waste of public money involved in the procurement process through payments to consultants, procurement costs and payments to shareholders - money which should be invested in local people and local services.'

John Burgess Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary said
“The Council need to recognise that ‘political dogma’ also known as One Barnet programme cannot be allowed to continue to expose residents, services and staff to a high risk strategy and expect them to pick up the bill.

What we mean by ‘independence’
A recent article Greensquare Field – Planning to Outsource Planning posted on the local Barnet Eye Blog encapsulates conflict of interest’s issues:
“At the moment Barnet Council is in the middle of tendering to outsource a number of services, one of which is the planning service. In the running are a number of companies: Capita Symonds, Atkins, Jacobs and E C Harrison. The planning consultants who represent Higgins Homes plc, and have done through 2 planning applications, 2 planning appeals, a village green application and the draft LDF, work for Capita Symonds. If Capita win the tender, they will decide any future planning applications.”

As council services for Barnet as a place to live and work, our decisions must be 100% independent and free from any ‘conflict of interest’.

Barnet Alliance have recently published a newspaper their front page spells out the dangers of the One Barnet here

Barnet UNISON is asking for the One Barnet programme to be put on hold.


Contact: John Burgess Barnet UNISON on 07738389569 or email: john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

Useful Links

1. Outsourcing Planning – local blog

2. The potential impact of reduced active membership of the London borough of Barnet Pension Fund,’ (First Actuarial LLP)
To read summary click on link below

To read full report click on link below

3. Barnet Alliance newspaper ‘Our Barnet’

4. Life not so easy for council facing £1.5m outsource bill

5. The ‘shrinking by outsourcing’ models 

6. Directors Cut for Barnet Independence Day
7. Obama direct message to striking UNISON members

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