Skip to main content

To: Richard Cornelius Leader of Barnet Council

Stop gagging local unions in Barnet Council

Stop gagging local unions in Barnet Council

Dear Mr Cornelius
It is clear from your own website that Barnet Council has already embarked on a radical outsourcing policy which has had a significant impact on former and current Council workers. Surely you must recognise the importance for staff to be represented and supported by a trade union?
Facility Time is good practice and is a means by which trade unions can carry out what are often demanding and complex roles which includes provision of advice to members, formal representation of members in grievance and disciplinary hearings and negotiating with managers over terms and conditions, outsourcing, restructures, cuts to services.
In 2007, the then Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR, now BIS - Department for Business Innovation and Skills) conducted a review of facilities and facility time available to workplace representatives. The review found the following in unionised workplaces:
Dismissal rates were lower
Voluntary exit rates were lower
Employment tribunal cases are lower
Workplace-related injuries were lower
All of the above generated savings up to £977m for the employer.

As Leader of Barnet Council I am asking that you cease your proposal to reduce the facility time pot to zero for the two local trade unions.

Why is this important?

The two local trade unions, UNISON & GMB, have been subject to both personal and political attacks by Conservative controlled Barnet Council in relation to facility time. On 1 April 2014 the Council are ceasing all of the facility time for both trade unions. The facility time pot has already been cut by 66% to date. This is the final act of what has been a sustained attack on the local trade unions for daring to question the wisdom of the One Barnet mass outsourcing of Council services. Barnet Council has been promoting the ideology ‘Public Bad Private Good’ as the solution to ‘Austerity’ with the help of expensive consultants (Consultancy Agilisys estimated costs to date close to £8million this does not include £millions spent on legal advice). First it was Future Shape then EasyCouncil, then One Barnet and now it is being promoted as the Commissioning Council. Whatever the name of this policy the human cost has meant redundancies and significant attacks on terms & conditions for those staff outsourced to contractors such as Your Choice Barnet, NSL, Capita and Barnet Homes.
Here is an animation explaining what is happening in Barnet http://youtu.be/o6I9kP6nCMg
The Trade Unions view this attempt to gag the unions as a form of de-recognition as it is clearly designed to undermine our ability to represent and organise across a number of employers all of whom currently contribute to a facility time pot of money. Once again Barnet Council in its drive to outsource all of its remaining council services also wants to be first to smash the ability of trade unions to be able to support, represent and defend hard working staff.


Reasons for signing

  • It is disgusting that the council are making it impossible for our union representatives to fight our corner and protect our worker's rights. This reduction in facility time is effectively tying the Union's reps hands behind their backs, will result in them being far less effective and impact on memberships. Their influence and ability to inflict change and protect worker's rights will inevitably decline.
  • I signed this because i live in Barnet and i think the Council should be held accountable for its actions.
  • AS someone who has worked as a union rep I know how invaluable union officers with facility time are. The council is blind stupid to take away this time as it actually works in their favour to have fully supported members of staff.

Updates

2014-01-30 15:25:57 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2014-01-23 00:46:50 +0000

500 signatures reached

2014-01-20 23:38:24 +0000

100 signatures reached

2014-01-20 19:48:42 +0000

50 signatures reached

2014-01-20 18:55:22 +0000

25 signatures reached

2014-01-20 17:44:51 +0000

10 signatures reached