Monday, 12 September 2011

The fight of the Barnet Unison branch is our fight too!

According to the Times series, Barnet council thought better of their half-baked plan to seek an injunction against the half-day strike by Unison members tomorrow.
Councillor Daniel Thomas, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, said the action was not being pursued.

“In situations such as these the council considers all options, the possibility of seeking an injunction was under consideration but ultimately it was decided not to pursue that course of action at this time."
Times series article here.

And fears that the council might be thinking of de-recognising Unison have also not materialised. The Barnet Press got this statement from the council:
A council spokeswoman said... “There are no plans to derecognise any trade union currently recognised by the council. Indeed we have developed proposals for ensuring continued union recognition for staff in any services that may be outsourced in the future.”
It's not all good news, however. The council still looks like it wants to impose its latest offer on staff, rather than continue negotiations.

It is also threatening to dock a full day's pay from anyone observing the half-day strike. And it intends to make sure that any Unison member who wants to take part in this strike cannot do half a day's work tomorrow, even if they want to, by refusing to let them onto the premises. (I understand the technical term for this is 'lock-out' - now there's a term that won't have been heard in a long time in Barnet!)

Barnet Press article here.

By their cack-handed performance over the last few days, council senior management, and their political masters in the leading Conservative group, have probably helped to bolster Unison members' resolve, rather than undermine it.

This evening Unison have sent out information about what their members should do tomorrow to support the industrial action.
UNISON advice to those not balloted

Those of you who have not been balloted are advised to continue with your normal duties and responsibilities on the 13th September.

UNISON members should not take on any additional responsibilities being given to them directly as a result of colleagues' industrial action. Staff should not be moved from the duties they would normally have carried out in order to cover colleagues' work and frustrate their industrial action. Members who are under pressure to cover should contact their UNISON rep, branch or region for further advice and support.

Members are reminded that due to industrial relations legislation only those employees who have been involved in a legal ballot are allowed to take industrial action.

If you want to send a message of support to the strikers tomorrow please email the branch at

The decision to take strike action is not something to take lightly; however, as our members have seen over the last week with the erection of billboards around NLBP, the Council seems determined to try and intimidate our members into accepting their fate, discouraging them from taking part in the strike action.

Picket lines

* There will be picket lines outside North London Business Park - Oakleigh Road North and Brunswick Park entrances

* Picket line hours: 7-10am and 4-6pm

I hope all our UNISON members will support the strikers and offer verbal support as you pass them on the picket line tomorrow.

I hope you will join me at the mass rally outside Hendon Town Hall from 5.30-7pm. We are providing a coach to take staff to Hendon. It will be outside NLBP and will leave at 5.45pm.

John Burgess, branch secretary
A group of residents involved in the anti-cuts group, Barnet Alliance, will visit the picket lines tomorrow and join the rally outside Hendon Town Hall.

Please come and show your support for the staff who are striking. In the first place, they are doing it to save their own jobs and stop their pay and employment conditions being worsened as they move to the private sector. But they are also taking a stand over the quality of services.

The One Barnet Programme will make services more remote, less responsive. The much-vaunted savings are highly unlikely ever to materialise. What we will get instead is services run by private companies looking to cut corners in order to boost their own profits. There is nothing in this for residents.

The fight of the Barnet Unison branch is our fight too!

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