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General Secretary's Blog - Huge decision beckons
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17/11/2013
  Huge decision beckons
Our superbly determined, and highly effective campaign against the combined might of the Coalition Government and Chris Graylings' army of Civil Servants as they go about their mission to fragment and destroy the Probation Service, has to be the most exciting, as well as the biggest challenge that I have faced in my career.

The courageous stand that Napo members have taken in supporting their union and the sacrifice made over 5/6 November has directly helped us to secure recent significant concessions on the proposed staff transfer agreement that has been the subject of hundreds of hours of often tortuous negotiations. This proves that our decision to enter into an industrial dispute was not only bold but the right thing to do. We are still awaiting Unison's verdict on the above agreement and whether they will move to join us in dispute over the wretched TR agenda. Meanwhile I urge your support for our action short of strike action which we launched last week.

This week your elected representatives from Napo's Probation Negotiating Committee and your National Officers and Officials will need to decide whether the offer from the MoJ that will underpin the intended staffing restructure, affords our members the maximum protection possible against compulsory redundancy, continuity of service in the event of future interchange transfers, guarantees of future membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme and provides a worthwhile voluntary redundancy scheme. We have continued to negotiate in order to protect members from the worst that the owners of the proposed CRC's will throw at them be they private, third sector or a mutual, when they no longer need you.

Wednesdays meeting of the National Negotiating Council (NNC) will reveal the decisions of the three unions as to the offer and will define the next steps in terms of whether there is a consensus or a situation that will result in Grayling carrying out his threat to do something even sillier than anything he has managed so far.

Unfortunately at the time of writing we are still trying to understand exactly what it is we are being asked to agree to, as yet again the MoJ have sought to interfere in the negotiations and have issued instructions to Trusts which are at some variance with the position that we reached with the NNC last week. A testing few days is guaranteed.

He still doesn't get it!

I often ask myself how Chris Grayling, who has already been tainted by the spectacularly unsuccessful and equally inappropriately named 'work'' programme (because it didn't work and not too many of those on it did so either) can be so surprised and smitten by the fact that we are so hacked of with his much vaunted 'Rehab Revolution' which, under his version, is more likely to see more people return to Prison.

If he and Jeremy Wright would take a break from destroying another gold standard public service, then they might start considering what they will do when their master plan comes a cropper because of the ridiculous timetable or because Serco and G4s get barred from competing for the CRC (Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself) or the companies themselves have concluded, as we hear other players have, that the market is a busted flush already.

This is why we are stepping up the pressure in and outside of Parliament and with academics to convince politicians that we have the solution to reduce reoffending rates from the under-12 month custodial community.

Those who believe that an agreement on the staff transfer scheme (if that becomes possible) will somehow signal an end to our industrial dispute, should think again. Our cause is just; our arguments impeccable, and our resolve to consign this disgraceful and cynical TR con-trick is altogether greater than the ideologues standing against us.

PAC to turn up the heat on Serco and G4S

Great news this weekend as we hear that the two privateers are being summoned to appear before the Public accounts Committee who I am told are straining at the leash at the prospect. Let's hope that by the time they arrive at this very unwelcoming party, their share prices have dipped even further than they have over the last few days.


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    Posted By: IanLawrence @ 17/11/2013 10:09 PM     General     Comments (1)  

18/11/2013
  Huge decision beckons
Excellent - Continuity - in the future is going to be important not just for members protection but also so the workforce sustain wide experience throughout the whole range of probation work. It is a public safety issue.

I can only begin to imagine how hard folk based at Chivalry Road are working and the burden on officers and NNC (national negotiating committee) & NEC (national executive committee) members who in addition to taking part in work centrally are also involved in their branch areas and have to travel backwards and forwards and attend to BAU (business as usual) but folk who are not so well connected need VERY frequent updates - ideally daily - even if it is simply - "nothing new today"

Please, please can Napo give some thought to how this might be achieved even if it means employing staff for the work - perhaps out of the subs of the new members we read are continuing to join.

I hope anyone not a member does not put off joining for a single day. If it comes to individual negotiations which surely eventually it probably will - Napo WILL represent folk after they have been in membership for only three months.

Meanwhile it is good that some involved in national work are now posting in the Members Forums again - please lets have more AND a completely private section where only members can post & read the content.

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    Posted By: tolkny @ 18/11/2013 03:37 PM     General     Comments (1)  

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