Upcoming actions against the One Barnet privatisation plan - 14th and 18th October

Friday 14th October - residents’ picket at North London Business Park, 8-9am

We are hearing that those companies who remained in the race for running Barnet’s (currently public) services are hanging around North London Business Park every day now.

Therefore, residents will demonstrate outside at the Oakleigh Road North entrance on Friday 14th October between 8-9 am. Please join us there before work if you can, we have nice placards and a new banner…

Barnet Alliance for Public Services is inviting council staff and calling them to join the residents in this protest against the outsourcing of services, before they go in to start their working day.

 

Tuesday 18th October - Barnet Unison strike

On Tuesday 18 October up to 300 UNISON members will be taking another one-day strike as part of a trades dispute which concerns the identity of the employer.

Barnet Council is promoting the ‘One Barnet Programme’ (OBP) which is being rolled out across all council services in waves. They previously identified up to £3 million to implement what was then called their Future Shape policy. The latest brand, One Barnet, has had £9.2 million to pay for expensive consultants to carry out this mass outsourcing programme.

Wave 1 involves the following services bundled together into a number of contracts with an estimated price of up to £2 billion:

Trading Standards & Licensing, Land Charges, Planning & Development, Building Control & Structures, Environmental Health, Highways Strategy, Highways Network Management, Highways Traffic & Development, Highways Transport & Regeneration, Strategic Planning & Regeneration, Cemeteries & Crematoria; Parking Services, Revenues & Benefits

The prospect of secure, risk-free, huge council contracts and more contracts in wave 2 has already attracted the likes of SERCO, CAPITA, NSL, MOUCHEL, WS ATKINS and BT to Barnet.

The workforce implications of OBP could be that 70% of the council workforce could be transferred to the private sector in little more than 15 months time.

John Burgess Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary said:

“The Council is attempting to scare staff and residents into believing that all Council funding will be swallowed up on Adult Social Care and Children’s Services by 2025. They have produced no evidence to support this position. For the last three years we have been asking for a genuine dialogue with the council to explore ways to save money, improve services, involve the unions and strengthen democratic control at the same time. There is still time to turn this One Barnet Tanker Programme around!”

For more details or to send messages of support tel John Burgess Barnet UNISON on 07738 389569 or email [email protected]

BAPS will be supporting Barnet Unison in their strike and visiting the picket line at North London Business Park throughout the morning, from 7.30am.

“Our Barnet” residents’ forum, 4 October - report and minutes

Here are the minutes of the first “Our Barnet” residents forum held on Tuesday 4 October. The meeting was attended by 50-60 people.

The next “Our Barnet” residents forum - open to all and no subject off limits - will be on Tuesday 29 November at 7.00pm at Larches House, 1 Rectory Lane, Edgware, HA8 7LF.

Here is a brief report of the first meeting:

On 4th October the Barnet Alliance for Public Services held its first OUR BARNET Residents’ Forum. Covering the whole of the borough, and with no limitations as to the questions put or solutions offered, this ‘experiment in community democracy’ attracted a larger and happier crowd than the fraught and aimless confrontations mounted by the council, which go under the false name of ‘Residents’ Forums’.

Our meeting gave a voice to workers at the shortly-to-be-privatised council, forced to take industrial action again to defend their jobs and our services; striking workers from Middlesex University faced with the prospect of 300 job cuts; carers whose care packages have been suddenly cut to nothing; disabled people, deprived of vital support - who have had to form themselves into a new ‘Campaign against the Destruction of Disabled Support Services’; representatives of campaigns to save the libraries and many more.

There were questions about how there could be any community involvement in planning if the department is to be outsourced; there were questions about the impact on the community of losing 1000 jobs as planned - did the council not have an obligation to stimulate the local economy?; there were suggestions about ways of gaining a greater measure of democratic control over the council e.g. particular interest groups selecting a representative to claim a [co-opted] place on the ONE BARNET Board; a sketch of an idea was
put forward for new or reclaimed council services controlled three ways by council, workers and users to compete with or replace private commercial ventures.

The 60 or so people present were asked if they wanted more such forums - there was cheering, applause and a unanimous vote in favour.

These forums are not, of course, themselves examples of community democracy. This is something that has to be worked for. Democratic rights have to be fought for. Sketchy suggestions have got to be turned into viable outline schemes. The place where we are working out ways to achieve this is our regular weekly meetings, which take place on a Wednesday at 6pm at the Greek Cypriot Centre, Britannia Road N12. Issues to be covered during the next weeks include: the economic background to the cuts [19th Oct], students & youth issues [26th Oct]…

Save Friern Barnet Library event, Saturday 15th October, 2pm

Take a leaf out of our book – Saturday 15 October, 2-5pm

Join Save Friern Barnet Library Campaign on their celebration of the library.

When?

15th October from 2pm

Where?

On the green next to Friern Barnet Library

Why?

We want to enjoy and celebrate our much loved and cherished local library and we

hope we can keep it open!

 

Activities:

Apple bobbing

Pumpkin faces

Leaf bookmarks

‘We Love FBL’ board

JOIN IN!

More details on the Save Friern Barnet Library blog

REPORT Our Barnet residents’ forum, Tuesday 4 October 2011

We will post fuller minutes on the website later from the ‘Our Barnet’ residents’ forum on Tuesday 4 October. Around 50 people met and had a very open and productive discussion.

You can read reports of the meeting on some of the blogs: Mrs Angry, Mr Reasonable, Rog T - the Barnet Eye. And Roger made a nice film of snippets from the meeting:

PAST EVENT Support Middlesex University strike against job cuts, Tuesday 4 October

Middlesex University plans to cut around 300 posts, spread across academic and admin staff. There are no guarantees at this stage that some of these job losses will not be compulsory. Unison members among admin staff and UCU members among academic staff have voted for a one-day strike in protest against the job cuts. The strike is on Tuesday 4 October.

There will be picket lines from 8-10am at the Hendon, Trent Park and Archway campuses.

The students’ union is closing its offices in solidarity and officers will join the picket lines to explain the issues to students.

To send a message of support to the Unison branch, email [email protected] The Unison branch has a blog: http://mdxbranchlines.blogspot.com.

To send a message of support to the UCU branch, email the branch secretary John Hammond: [email protected]

PAST EVENT: “Our Barnet” residents’ forum, Tuesday 4 October

We are concerned by the lack of consultation there has been with residents over important issues including:
- mass privatisation of council services
- hikes in charges to residents for such things as adult social care and CPZ parking.

Barnet council’s own residents’ forums have been useful meetings for residents to raise concerns - but in recent months they have been partially muzzled, with restrictions on what issues residents can raise, and other limits. We urge residents to challenge the changes and to keep using the residents’ forums.

But we need to supplement this with meetings organised by us. That is why we have organised this event…

All residents are invited to the “Our Barnet” residents’ forum on Tuesday 4 October.

The meeting is from 7-9pm, at the Greek Cypriot Community Centre, 2 Britannia Road, London N12 9RU.

Councillors, MPs and senior council officers have been invited to answer your questions on any topic that concerns you in our borough. You can submit questions on the night or via email: [email protected]

See the leaflet here for more details. Please print off and invite friends, neighbours… OUR BARNET RESIDENTS FORUM (printable leaflet)

DATE CHANGE Barnet CPZ Action: latest news + quiz night on 12 November

In case you haven’t visited the website recently, do check out the latest news posted today concerning visitor vouchers on http://barnetcpz.blogspot.com/ We would really appreciate your feedback on this.
 

Your invitation to the Barnet CPZ Action Quiz Night and Promises Auction

We’re holding a quiz night on the evening of Saturday 12 November. Please keep the date free. On the evening, we’ll give a (very brief) update on the campaign, but the main aim is to have fun and raise money. We’ll have a broad range of questions, including some with a local twist. There will also be a Promises Auction with a range of great prizes to bid for, including a tour of Lords Cricket Ground, a dog grooming session and a meal for two.

The more prizes we can auction, the more money we will raise to support the campaign, so please think whether there is something that you can donate. Would you give someone’s garden a make-over or agree to do some dog walking? Do you have a holiday home that you could donate for a weekend or football tickets you don’t need? If so, please let us know!

Full details will follow shortly.

A great fundraising idea

With our legal action progressing through the courts at a snail’s pace, it’s easy to think that people have forgotten about the increased CPZ charges or at least have become resigned to them. And then an email arrives (below) to remind us that the CPZ charges are very much a live issue. A couple of High Barnet residents decided to organise a local fundraising event. What started as a simple coffee morning blossomed into a true social occasion that raised over £360! We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to organise a similar event.

“News from High Barnet…….
 
S, a neighbour, and I wanted to do something to raise funds for the campaign and decided to hold a coffee morning at my home in Barnet.
 
We planned a raffle and sale of second-hand books, CDs and DVDs and hoped we might raise enough to cover costs plus a little bit on top.
 
We leafleted only three streets very local to us and asked for any contributions that people may be able to give – this took us about two hours in total.
 
Well – what a great response we got. Books, CDs, raffle prizes and some good bric-a-brac came in, along with offers to make cakes and help on the day. We placed posters in our windows advertising the day and offered ‘CUP and a CAKE’ for £1 with squash and biscuits for kids at 50p. Books etc and bric-a-brac were set out on our pasting table in the hall.
 
While we didn’t count heads, we estimate that about fifty people came along, and did us proud, buying the goods and making cash contributions to the campaign! And it was a great social occasion too, with neighbours and strangers chatting together. It was clear that people feel strongly about the issue and are willing to support the fight.
 
This turned out to be a way to raise funds for not a huge amount of time and energy, and small financial outlay, and in the event we far exceeded our expectations and the final tally was £366.35 to add to the campaign fund!
 
A big vote of thanks goes to everyone who came and gave so generously!
 
J

PAST EVENT Support the Barnet Unison strike, Tuesday 13 September - say no to easyCouncil! UPDATED

Update, Monday 12 September

Because Barnet council have decided not to admit Unison members taking a half-day strike tomorrow onto the premises, picket lines are from 7-10am at the Oakleigh Road North and Brunswick Park entrances to the North London Business Park. Barnet Alliance will be supporting the Unison members from early in the morning, and at the rally outside Hendon Town Hall, 5.30-7pm.

Background

Around 400 Barnet council staff, members of the Unison trade union, are taking part in a half-day strike on Tuesday 13 September.

They are striking against the proposed change of employer to a private sector company, if the council’s outsourcing plan, the One Barnet Programme goes ahead.

The workers on strike include:

Trading standards & licensing; Land charges; Planning & development; Building control & structures; Environmental health; Highways strategy, highways network management, highways traffic & development, highways transport & regeneration; Strategic planning & regeneration; Cemeteries & crematoria; Parking services; Revenues & benefits

Barnet Alliance is supporting the strike. We don’t want our council services outsourced either, as we don’t believe this will save money. What it will do is make our services more unaccountable, and, as the private sector companies taking them over try to boost their profits, could even lead to worse services.

We don’t support Barnet council staff being forced into private sector employment, where, in time, they are likely to have their pay and conditions of employment reduced.

Here are some ways you can support Barnet Unison strikers on Tuesday:

  • Send a message of support to [email protected]
  • Join picket lines from 7-10am at the Oakleigh Road North and Brunswick Park entrances to the North London Business Park.
  • Join strikers as they distribute copies of our “Our Barnet” newspaper around the borough in the afternoon.
  • Join strikers and the Barnet Alliance at the rally outside the council meeting in the evening. Rally: 5.30-7pm, Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BG. Council meeting starts at 7pm.
  • Follow Barnet Unison on Twitter: @barnet_unison.

For more details, please email [email protected] or Vicki, Barnet trades council [email protected].

Wednesday 14 September no BA4PS meeting - see you at residents’ forums instead!

Our usual Wednesday meeting will not take place on 14th September (this coming week) as we will all be attending and asking questions at the Finchley & Golders Green Residents’ Forum.  

Join us there at  6 p.m. at Trinity Church, 15 Nether Street, North Finchley, N12 7NN  (the top of Nether Street near the Tally Ho! pub).  

Even if you don’t have a question, be there to remind our Councillors that they are our representatives, not our masters and are answerable to us, not the other way round.

Our Barnet newspaper - new issue out now

Issue 2 of the Our Barnet newspaper is out now. It includes an introduction to the One Barnet Programme - and why you should oppose it; a feature on the new adult social care charges; and a contribution from the Save Friern Barnet Library campaign.

Have a look here:

Our Barnet (September 2011)

Click for front page

Click for centre pages

Click for back page

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