This snub came in the context of the One Barnet privatisation programme starting to be implemented, with several council staff being "bundled up" for sale to the highest bidder. And in the context of 350 redundancies being announced.
So it really was quite a big two-fingers up to this union, and, by extension, all the unions, and, indeed, all the workforce.
Unison changed the time of the meeting to the end of the day, making it easier for people to attend. In a bit of a coup, they also managed to get the Unison general secretary Dave Prentis to come and speak at the meeting to show his solidarity with the branch. If you know anything about Dave Prentis's politics or how he runs the union, you will appreciate how significant it was that he is coming to speak.
Anyway, some part of the council has seen enough sense to reverse the decision, to revert to tradition and allow Unison members time off to attend their branch AGM.
Here's the word from the union:
Council agree time off for members to attend our AGMSo Barnet council Unison - I wish you good deliberations!
Barnet UNISON AGM Thurs 3rd March 3.30 pm
These are indeed very different times. The rules of engagement are shifting and we need to be prepared. Our branch has with the support of Professor Dexter Whitfield produced over 25 detailed reports [on the] One Barnet programme. It is clear that our members are facing the most difficult time of their lives so it is important the union is able to be there for its members.
I am pleased to report the Council have relented and time off has been agreed for members to attend the AGM.
Dave Prentis UNISON General Secretary is coming down to speak at our AGM to offer his backing to our branch and our members.
Please make every effort to come.