I visited the Barnet Unison picket lines at North London Business Park this morning, and then went with some of the strikers to the Larches Trust in Edgware, where they plan to do a day's community work. You can see my pictures here.
A report about the strike on the BBC news website includes the following comment from deputy council leader Daniel Thomas:
"Any staff who move as part of the restructure will remain in the local government pension scheme, keep the same level of pay and have a job guaranteed for 12 months at the very least from their move.What they might not envy is that, in order to do their job, those staff might be required to travel two hours each way and fork out for a zones 1-5 travelcard, cost more than £2,000.
"I'm sure many of our residents would envy that level of certainty in the current financial climate."
That is the current fate of the 30 or so office staff of Barnet's soon-to-be-outsourced parking service. They have been told that they must work from Croydon. The staff are, naturally, very angry. One told me this morning how he had already given up one job expressly because he wants to work locally because of his childcare responsibilities.
The parking service is due to transfer at the end of March. Please email Barnet council's chief executive Nick Walkley and your local councillors and ask them to intervene on behalf of these Barnet staff who are, frankly, being shafted. Please let me know if you get any reply; you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find your councillors' contact details here; Nick Walkley's email address is email@example.com.
These staff wonder why they can't at least be offered a job with NSL, the company that has won the parking contract (worth £25 million), in one of its offices closer to Barnet, in Enfield, for example.
If something is not done for these staff, the first to be transfered out of council employment, other Barnet council staff will conclude that the promises made about their future are just hot air.