2 June 2014

Have councillors cut their allowances by 9.5%? (No)

Barnet UNISON Press Release: 2 June 2013

Barnet UNISON organised a strike ballot which closed on Tuesday 27 May 2014 in response to a 9.5% cut in pay being imposed on our members.

Our members working for Your Choice Barnet have delivered a 100% vote for strike action.


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 allowances there are now only about 105 FTE working for YCB.

This is a resounding ballot result and vindication of why Barnet UNISON has always said the additional 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 repay Barnet 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 have undermined morale 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: “Our members have always been clear they are fighting for their jobs and the future of the service. We are now seeking an urgent meeting with Your Choice Barnet to see if talks can avert having to take strike action.”

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis:

"Your Choice Care Workers are fighting to preserve a service to some of the most vulnerable people in society and I want express my admiration and solidarity for a brave and principled group of people."

"Many of our members have said that the 9.5% cut in pay will mean they simply will not be able to pay their bills and some would struggle to keep their homes. This outstanding strike ballot of 100% for strike action shows they have the courage and determination to fight for these critical frontline services.”

End of press release.

Care workers have no choice but to strike as otherwise where will these attacks on their terms and conditions end? If Tracey Lees, the £100,000+ a year head of Barnet Homes which runs Your Choice and the management team of both organisations are taking the same level of pay cut Mr Mustard will delete this post.

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