13 June 2014
Barnet UNISON has spent 3 days in negotiations so far with Your Choice Barnet and we will continue talking. We are hopeful the talks will yield a positive change for our members but at the moment this has not been achieved.
Our members working for Your Choice Barnet delivered a100% vote for strike action and will not be taking strike action lightly but as one colleague said:
“In taking this action we are standing up for ourselves and service users so neither lose out”.
In February 2012 Barnet Council transferred Learning Disability and Physical and Sensory Impairment services for adults to a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC) called Your Choice Barnet (YCB). About 160 staff (145.6 Full Time Equivalents) in Adults services transferred to the LATC.Following a restructure and cuts to pay on shift allowancesthere are now only about 105 FTE working for YCB.
This is a resounding ballot result and vindication of why Barnet UNISON has always said theadditional 9.5% cut was unacceptable both to our members and the future for these critical frontline services. It is not feasible to continually attack low paid workers and expect them to take it without a fight and our members are not prepared to put up with joining a race to the bottom that is now common practice in the social care industry. The business case for this outsourced service was flawed from the outset three years ago and to date we have yet to see any financial figures which demonstrate this service will be able to deliver new business.
Our members are taking a pay cut in order for YCB to repayBarnet Homes a loan borrowed at commercial rates of interest!
Last year Barnet Council brought back the recycling service because they felt they could do a better job, which is why we are asking them to bring this service back in house in order to ensure a safe and secure service for Adults with Disabilities in Barnet.
The last twelve months have seen a sharp increase in the numbers of agency staff and zero hours contracts being used to deliver these services. The attacks on staff haveunderminedmorale and led to an exodus of experienced staff. For many of our members this is a last chance to save the service.
UNISON Branch Secretary John Burgess said:
“Your Choice Barnet say they have no choice as Barnet Council is only prepared to pay a set market rate for the support provided by YCB, but YCB is owned wholly by the Council. Somewhere between the Council and YCB there has to be a solution which doesn’t mean our members and the service users are used as football between the two paying for the problem.”
Notes to Editors.
1. Barnet UNISON response to Your Choice Barnet Consultation Paper
2. ‘The way out of financial crisis’ Analysis of Consultation Paper Your Choice Barnet Ltd The Barnet Group Ltd (Local Authority Trading Company), London Borough of Barnet
3. Barnet UNISON Report: The Barnet Group Ltd, Local Authority Trading Company: Privatising Adults and Housing Services London Borough of Barnet
4. Stop the ongoing destruction of services for adults with disabilities in Barnet petition