Council workers stage strike over job fears

Wednesday, 7 October 2015 By Shafi Musaddique

COUNCIL workers staged a 24-hour strike over austerity cuts and outsourcing of jobs.

Members of the Unison union took to the picket lines across Barnet with strikers protesting at East Finchley Library in East Finchley High Road, the council refuse depot at Bittacy Hill in Mill Hill East yesterday (Wednesday October 7.)

Later they joined a rally outside council offices at Barnet House in High Road, Whetstone.

Earlier in the day Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell joined striking council workers at the council refuse depot.

Unison branch secretary John Burgess said 80 people had been on the picket line at the depot.

He said: “The dispute involves social workers, coach escorts, drivers, occupational therapists, schools catering staff, education welfare officers, library workers, children centre workers, street cleaning and refuse workers, all of whom have made it clear they want to remain employees of Barnet council and don’t want to be outsourced.”

He said union membership was increasing as people were worried about their jobs.

“It is a scary future for local government workers.”

Barnet council has just announced revised proposals for the future of libraries across the borough which the union said could see 46 per cent of library jobs cut.

The union’s library convenor Hugh Jordan said: “What will remain will not be worth the name library.”

A Barnet council spokesman said: “Early indications suggest that around 200 out of nearly 2000 staff have taken part in strike action. Essential services for residents, such as waste and recycling collection, have been largely unaffected, with some collections set to take place in the evening.”

“Seven libraries were closed due to industrial action.”

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