Staff at Barnet council are due to be transferred back to council employment thanks to a decade-long campaign by UNISON.
The 330 affected workers are currently employed by outsourcing multinational conglomerate, Capita, and are being brought back in house after the council was used as a test case for the outsourcing of local government services.
The staff who work under a joint venture called ‘Capita Re’ in a variety of areas like trading standards, environmental health, planning highways and other regulatory services, will be TUPE transferred back in house on 1 April this year.
In 2012, much of the service provision at the council was outsourced to Capita on decade-long contracts by the Conservative-controlled council, with the intervening 10 years marred by several controversies including a multi-million-pound fraud and contracts running vastly over budget.
Barnet’s UNISON branch has campaigned for services to be brought back in-house since the contracts were initially handed to Capita and there have already been major in-sourcing successes at the council.
In May last year, Labour won control of the council after 20 years of Conservative leadership and, though the contracts had already been due to end next year, the new council has fast-tracked plans by six months to bring some services back in house.
John Burgess, Barnet local government branch secretary, said: “This is good news for staff, good news for residents and good news for the services. I welcome the decision and look forward to welcoming back all the services back into Barnet Council where they all belong.
“For a decade, our branch has campaigned for local government services at Barnet to be brought back in-house and, while we are happy that this latest has been fast tracked, there are still many issues to address for our members who are being TUPE’d.
“These include workplace inequalities such as staff being paid differently for the same role. Barnet UNISON is already seeking discussions with the council about harmonisation of the terms and conditions of the TUPE’d workforce.
“During the worst cost of living crisis in 75 years it is imperative that our branch does it best to look after the interests of our members transferring back into the council.”