Barnet council locked out workers due to strike from 1pm on Tuesday 13 September when they arrived at work on Tuesday morning.
Bosses appear to have given up on their (always half-hearted) negotiations with the council unions over their outsourcing plans and have moved to impose an offer to staff. The offer is far short of the “TUPE-plus” the council says it is.
They have also lied about Barnet Unison, accusing them of acting in bad faith toward their members. They have written to all staff along these lines, and on Thursday 8 September plastered the council offices with posters bearing “An open letter to staff” — repeating the slander and aimed at intimidating those who planned to strike on Tuesday 13 September. They gave a letter to some staff, threatening an injunction against the strike, although they later seemed to withdraw that threat.
In short, the council is turning the screw on the Unison branch, on its members, and, by implication, any staff member in the borough that wants to resist being privatised. We can’t stand by and watch them do this without protest.
In the past few weeks and months, we have seen several instances of council union branches around the country being attacked or even de-recognised; several unions have experienced injunctions against planned strike action. Before Barnet Unison becomes another such case, the rest of the labour movement must act to support them.
The council will be less likely to act if they see that Unison has lots of support.
• Send a message of support: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Follow Barnet Unison on Twitter: @barnet_unison