Barnet Council workers on strike over outsourcing threat

Over 600 UNISON members working for Barnet Council are in the middle of a 48-hour strike in an increasingly bitter row over the outsourcing of local council services.

Child social workers, staff in stand-alone children’s centres, together with those working in libraries, refuse collection, street cleaning and school meals are among those who walked out on yesterday (Thursday).

Over the past year, huge swathes of the council’s work have been picked up by the global outsourcing giant Capita. These include statutory services such as environmental health and planning, which the council has a legal duty to provide.

The council’s revenue, finance and welfare departments have also been affected, with some services now being run from as far away as the north-west of the country.

This has resulted in redundancies as well as detrimental changes to the terms and conditions of some staff.

UNISON London regional secretary Linda Perks said: “Our members have grave concerns about the quality of local services that will be provided if the council pushes ahead with yet more outsourcing.

“They are on strike because they want to continue to work for Barnet Council and they want the people of Barnet to receive the best possible services.

“The decision by the Tory council to continue its outsourcing drive is purely ideological and has nothing to do with improving local services. We are urging the council to come back to the negotiating table.”