Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Nick Walkley comes over all Stalinist

When Barnet Conservative councillor Mark Shooter said this:
I do not believe Soviet bureaucratic initiatives like One Public Sector, Labour’s Total Place (and Barnet’s Future Shape/Easy Council) ideas are... the way forward...
he clearly could see the way the wind was blowing.

Chief executive Nick Walkley, who has been steering the One Barnet Programme (latest name for Future Shape/easyCouncil), has started to reveal distinct Uncle Joe tendencies.

Overnight at the council's North London Business Park offices a poster has appeared, an open letter to staff, signed by Nick Walkley. It accompanies a letter sent to all staff in eNews.

Taken together, these two texts slander Barnet Unison, saying that they have had a good offer put to them regarding staff due for transfer to the private sector under the One Barnet Programme; that they've refused to put the offer to their members; that in calling a half-day strike next week of the staff first up for outsourcing they are deemed to have rejected the offer...

Barnet Unison reply that they understood that the offer that had been put to them was embargoed, not to be discussed with members yet; that, in any case, the offer is not half as good as the text on the poster says it is.

I want to thank the person who has forwarded these pictures of the poster - it probably felt like quite a brave act. Because, as you can see, the poster is absolutely EVERYWHERE: in the dinner queue, apparently; lining every corridor; replacing every poster that was there before; and appearing in all sizes. One would be enough, you might think?

What is the intended effect of this then? What do you think?

I think it has been done to frighten staff. Yes, I'll repeat that, to frighten staff.

Nick Walkley, the grown-up, highly paid, supposedly expert professional public servant has decided to try and bully fellow Barnet council employees, like a school bully would throw his weight around in the playground. What do you think of someone like this? Sinister and unpleasant about sums it up for me.

Probably not all that bright, either, since, if I were a Barnet employee, I think I would lose any residual respect I might have had for the boss who behaved like this.

P.S. Here is the text on that poster:
An open letter to staff

As many of you are aware, council staff have been in discussion with Unison over "TUPE Plus" proposals for staff in services that may be provided by an external supplier in the coming years.

The council has listened carefully to the concerns put forward by individual staff members, Unison and other trade unions.

However the action of calling a strike on 13 September by Unison confirms that the offer has not been accepted. This package of measures is a substantial package of enhancements over and above the protection provided by TUPE. The key points of the package are:

* all employees in services moving to a new employer will be able to continue their membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme uninterrupted and unchanged

* local union recognition will be protected for staff moving to external suppliers

* terms and conditions of staff transferred will be protected for at least one year after leaving the council's employment

* any changes to terms and conditions after that first year will have to be negotiated with the appropriate trade union

This offer of protection of pension rights and terms and conditions is a significant commitment at a time when both the public and private sectors are operating in challenging economic circumstances.


Nick Walkley

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