Strikers join picket lines at business park this morning

HUNDREDS of Barnet Council workers are expected to join a picket line at North London Business Park this morning, as part of a one-day strike against plans to outsource some council services.

The outsourcing plans, rolled out as part of the One Barnet Programme, have been fiercely opposed by union UNISON, saying it could lead to large numbers of employees moving to the private sector over the next year.

Strikers will rally outside the council's headquarters until about 10am, before carrying out charity work during the day and ending strike action with a candle light vigil outside Hendon Town Hall.

Barnet UNISON branch secretary John burgess said: "They’re not getting paid and rather than just the usual strike action, they wanted to do something different – the people wanted to give something back, which I think is to be commended."

Mr Burgess said members had called on the council to donate savings from staff wages during the strike to one of the Mayor's charities.

In a twist on usual strike action proceedings, members will also put on street theatre performances demonstrating the implications of the One Barnet programme.

Councillor Daniel Thomas, deputy leader and cabinet member for policy and performance, said: "I would be interested to see how the challenges of dealing with a growing demand for public services with a reduced amount of money is portrayed through the medium of street theatre."

Cllr Thomas said any savings made from staff wages would be directed into public services.

Today's strike action follows previous one-day industrial action on September 13.

Comments (4)

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11:46am Tue 18 Oct 11

harvey_uk says...

Strike, really, you would hardly notice as most of these council workers I dealt with seem lethargic and comatosed when asked to do more then write a letter. Anything that the council does to save money is a good thing. Some of the naivety of the public sector workers to real world economics is theatrical. These unemployed public sector workers will be in for a real shock when applying for lower paid private sector salaries, and all those nice perks reduced to a minimum. Outsource outsource outsource, now now now!
Strike, really, you would hardly notice as most of these council workers I dealt with seem lethargic and comatosed when asked to do more then write a letter. Anything that the council does to save money is a good thing. Some of the naivety of the public sector workers to real world economics is theatrical. These unemployed public sector workers will be in for a real shock when applying for lower paid private sector salaries, and all those nice perks reduced to a minimum. Outsource outsource outsource, now now now! harvey_uk
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Tue 18 Oct 11

Deast5 says...

harvey_uk - not sure which department you've dealt with, but as a Barnet employee who has been on the picket line this morning I do not have any perks in my job - unless of course you count -being abused by the public in telephone calls, being allowed to work extra hours to have a flexi day off. Working past finishing time to ensure that vulnerable peoples problems are dealt with. Having the use of toilets that usually smell foul, and of course lets not forget the wonderful air con that blows cold air down your neck so that we have to wear winter clothes all year round and usually results in most staff having permanent colds & other related problems.
I've worked in the private sector for most of my life. I do not get bonus's, haven't had a pay rise for 2 years, & am "looking forward" to pay cuts over the next 2 years.
To coin your phrase, some of the public are in for a nasty shock when the services are eventually outsourced & probably moved up north, where they'll be operated by young low paid staff with no experience or training, that will work from a "script", that won't work past their contracted hours, & that's of course if the call centre doesn't end up in India!
I often work outside of my contracted hours to ensure that that queries/complaints are dealt with rapidly and that vulnerable members of the public have their queries dealt with quickly.
harvey_uk - not sure which department you've dealt with, but as a Barnet employee who has been on the picket line this morning I do not have any perks in my job - unless of course you count -being abused by the public in telephone calls, being allowed to work extra hours to have a flexi day off. Working past finishing time to ensure that vulnerable peoples problems are dealt with. Having the use of toilets that usually smell foul, and of course lets not forget the wonderful air con that blows cold air down your neck so that we have to wear winter clothes all year round and usually results in most staff having permanent colds & other related problems. I've worked in the private sector for most of my life. I do not get bonus's, haven't had a pay rise for 2 years, & am "looking forward" to pay cuts over the next 2 years. To coin your phrase, some of the public are in for a nasty shock when the services are eventually outsourced & probably moved up north, where they'll be operated by young low paid staff with no experience or training, that will work from a "script", that won't work past their contracted hours, & that's of course if the call centre doesn't end up in India! I often work outside of my contracted hours to ensure that that queries/complaints are dealt with rapidly and that vulnerable members of the public have their queries dealt with quickly. Deast5
  • Score: 0

9:13pm Tue 18 Oct 11

Deast5 says...

Councillor Daniel Thomas, perhaps a good way to deal with a growing demand for public services & reduced income would be to get rid of the high income contract workers/consultants brought in to Barnet council who's sole job/aim appears to be to outsource the workforce.
You may also want to question such people as the H.R. management who waste a massive amount of money keeping the staff informed, incorrectly about information related to the strike, i.e. printing letters, enveloping, then paying contract staff to walk around the building putting these letters on desks when anyone using a desk has access to email - which I might add costs nothing to send.
Also I'm sure the public would like to know how much the C.E.O. Nick Walkley wasted on having massive billboards printed/erected in the Council offices to try and deter staff from striking.
If the council were to get rid of all this waste, and the people causing it, then I'm sure it would go a long way towards the savings needed for increased services.
One last question, we're told that Barnet executive eventually want just a "hub" of about 300 permanent staff to remain, so when the other 3000+ staff are eventually all outsourced; when the new owners, to save money, move out of borough and most of the staff end up unemployed, has any allowance been made for this increase on the public purse - has this been offset against the savings made from the outsourcing?
Councillor Daniel Thomas, perhaps a good way to deal with a growing demand for public services & reduced income would be to get rid of the high income contract workers/consultants brought in to Barnet council who's sole job/aim appears to be to outsource the workforce. You may also want to question such people as the H.R. management who waste a massive amount of money keeping the staff informed, incorrectly about information related to the strike, i.e. printing letters, enveloping, then paying contract staff to walk around the building putting these letters on desks when anyone using a desk has access to email - which I might add costs nothing to send. Also I'm sure the public would like to know how much the C.E.O. Nick Walkley wasted on having massive billboards printed/erected in the Council offices to try and deter staff from striking. If the council were to get rid of all this waste, and the people causing it, then I'm sure it would go a long way towards the savings needed for increased services. One last question, we're told that Barnet executive eventually want just a "hub" of about 300 permanent staff to remain, so when the other 3000+ staff are eventually all outsourced; when the new owners, to save money, move out of borough and most of the staff end up unemployed, has any allowance been made for this increase on the public purse - has this been offset against the savings made from the outsourcing? Deast5
  • Score: 0

7:59pm Thu 20 Oct 11

Mr Worried says...

Can't CEO Nick Walkley's job be put out to tender?
His running of Barnet Council is an embarrassment to any right thinking person.
I'm sure they could employ another cretin at a fraction of his wage...
Can't CEO Nick Walkley's job be put out to tender? His running of Barnet Council is an embarrassment to any right thinking person. I'm sure they could employ another cretin at a fraction of his wage... Mr Worried
  • Score: 0

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