Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Barnet lockout, strike and lobby

The title of this post could have been "Big guns target Barnet" (I'll explain later). I left the TUC conference a little early to get to Hendon Town Hall to join the UNISON lobby against the Tory plans to privatise 70% of the staff employed by Barnet Council. 

Earlier in the day, the incompetent and completely daft, Barnet senior management team had decided to send home all workers who came into work in the morning while planning to strike in the afternoon.  This meant that the employer employed 19th century bully boy employment tactics and "locked out" its workers and prevented them from providing a service.  They turned a half day strike into a full day?  I thought managers wanted to avoid strike action!

At the rally there were a number of speakers.  Pickets reported back and messages of support were read out (including from our General Secretary Dave Prentis).  Local residents, activists from UNISON and other unions spoke in support, including London Regional Convenor Gloria Hanson (see picture) and the Regional Secretary, Linda Perks.  The rally was also a lobby of a meeting of the full Barnet Council.  Barnet Council Labour Group had tabled a motion calling for the end of the "One Barnet" Easy Council policy.  Deputy Labour Leader Barry Rawlings (former NUPE steward) spoke to the rally about their motion.  Well done to the Branch, the pickets and to John and Helen for a successful strike and rally.

(According to my esteemed NEC colleague the Ship on the London UNISON regional banner seen behind Gloria is the Battleship HMS Belfast which is moored in the Thames.  For some reasons the Guns of HMS Belfast are always pointed towards the London Borough of Barnet!).  Stop press  Barnet Labour Group walked out of the Council chambers last night when the Tories refused to allow them to debate their motion.

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