John McDonnell says he been a long-term support of union’s campaign against “hard right” council

Barnet UNISON iShadow Chancellor John McDonnell is today expected to visit picket lines in Barnet as UNISON members hold another 24-hour strike against privatisation.

The workers, who include social workers, coach escorts, drivers, occupational therapists, schools catering staff, education welfare officers, library workers, children centre workers, street cleaning & refuse workers, have made it clear they want to remain employees of Barnet Council and don’t want to be outsourced.

The council is discussing plans to reduce the number of people it directly employs to fewer than 300.

John McDonnell said: “I have been a long term supporter of John Burgess & Barnet UNISON and the community campaign that has shown remarkable fighting spirit in the face of a relentless attack from the hard right in control of Barnet Council.

“Under Jeremy Corbyn, people can see that there is a real alternative to austerity which is why I am fully behind Barnet UNISON members taking strike action today. If possible I hope to join you on the picket line.”

UNISON Branch Secretary John Burgess said: “Our members want to work for the council, they want to be directly accountable to the residents of Barnet. Our members don’t want to work for an employer which will have to place the shareholders’ legal demands before local residents’ needs.

“Our members don’t want to work for an employer which uses zero hours contracts. Our members don’t want to work for an employer which will not pay the London Living Wage as a basic minimum. Our members don’t want to work for an employer which won’t allow their colleagues to belong to their Pension Scheme, and our members don’t want to work for an employer which will take jobs out of the borough. That’s why 87% of our members working for the council voted ‘Yes’ to taking strike action.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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