Sunday, 28 August 2011

Barnet Independence Day - Tuesday 13 September

As part of their industrial action against the proposed change in "identity of employer", Barnet council Unison members who are engaged in the work-to-rule will hold a one-day strike on Tuesday 13 September.

They are calling this "Barnet Independence Day".

Perhaps some of the first paragraph needs explaining. Barnet Unison opposes the mass outsourcing One Barnet Programme. Staff don't want to be transferred to private sector employers who will, sooner or later, cut their pay and "terms and conditions" of employment (things such as getting holiday pay).

Around 400 of them - about one-tenth of the workforce - have been engaged in a work-to-rule for a few weeks now. That means they only do what it says in their contract, not doing extra work for no pay, and not doing overtime. And they are not cooperating in the work gearing up for "One Barnet" privatisation.

The industrial action has been effective, especially in the revenues and benefits department.

The strike on 13 September is quite a brave step: anyone who thinks that workers lightly "down tools" these days is wrong. I think it is in residents' interest to support their action.

Having workers delivering council services who are low paid, unmotivated, scared to stay at home when they are ill, etc, does not make for good services! Nor does having them delivered by unaccountable private firms who are looking for ways to cut corners and boost their profits.

On 13 September there is a council meeting, and I hope residents will join Unison strikers at the lobby outside Hendon Town Hall from 5.30-7pm.

Barnet Unison have produced a lively video promoting "Barnet Independence Day".

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