COUNCIL workers across Barnet have taken further strike action over an ongoing fight against outsourcing and cuts.

Unison members set up picket lines at Barnet House in Whetstone, Mill Hill depot and Edgware library this morning.

It is the seventh day of strike action since April this year over proposals to outsource jobs including in adult services, school meals and children’s services, which will be decided on later this month.

The council says a £90million budget gap by 2020 means it cannot continue with the status quo - but Unison says outsourcing reduces accountability, and damages services and working terms and conditions.

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Unison members outside Mill Hill Depot

The following libraries have been closed today as a result: Chipping Barnet, Childs Hill, Church End, East Barnet, East Finchley, Edgware, Golders Green, North Finchley, Osidge and South Friern. Burnt Oak, Grahame Park, Hendon and Mill Hill libraries are open.

Green Party London mayoral candidate Sian Berry and Unison general secretary Dave Prentis also joined the picket line at Barnet House.

Unison branch chairman Helen Davies said: “This month there are a couple of meetings where big decisions are going to be made about the future of adult and children’s services, and people are anxious.

“With social services there are serious problems with going for outsourcing. It affects quality of provision. Things will end up being very disjoined and unsafe. It is also about accountability.

“Alongside that, there is a deterioration in working terms and conditions. There is already a recruitment crisis for social services. We don’t need to exacerbate that situation even more.”

Discussing the ongoing row with Barnet Council, including over library cuts which will see 46 per cent of staff axed, she said: “I think the action so far has had a significant effect.

“The library service was supposed to be decimated by the summer. But clearly that is not happening because they are slowing down, which is undoubtedly because of the amount of opposition, both from staff and residents.”

Unison members were also due to take part in a demonstration against the Trade Union Bill outside Parliament this afternoon.

Ms Davies said: “We think it is outrageous. It is a fundamental attack on people’s rights as workers.”

Sian Berry, the Green Party’s London mayoral candidate, said: “Public sector workers across London are facing budget cuts from their local councils. Some are being treated worse than others and I’m sorry to say that Barnet is one of the worst examples.”

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Sian Berry, Helen Davies and Dave Prentis address Unison members outside Barnet House

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Councillor Alison Moore, also issued a statement in support of the strike.

She said: "We send a message of support to all staff taking action to champion our public services against the Tories' sustained and savage cuts, both locally and nationally, that threaten every council service - from libraries to education, from waste services to our parks.

“Our public servants go to work every day to help our community; we must listen to their warnings that our borough's services are on the brink."

Barnet Council said: “We anticipate that the majority of our services will be operating.

“We currently intend to carry out all household collections scheduled for today, but collections may take place at a different time than usual, including into the evening.

“Please leave your bins out for collection on the boundary of your property. Barnet’s Civic Amenity and Recycling Centre at Summers Lane will be operating a normal service.”