Hot after the Xmas break during which Napo got some respectable coverage in national media and local radio outlets, comes more dreadful news from Staffordshire and West Midlands and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northampton and Rutland CRC’s. They have announced an intention to reduce 90 front line practitioner posts across the former, and substantial (but as yet unknown) reductions in Leicester at the latter.
This development has emerged over the last day and while we and local Napo branches seek to obtain more details, I can confirm that Mike McClelland and Chas Berry will be meeting with members at the earliest opportunity starting with a visit to Leicester next Wednesday.
The cuts announcement, whilst not unexpected given developments in other CRC’s, and amidst increasing speculation that many CRC’s may soon become financially unviable, are different from what we have seen elsewhere in that the intention seems to be to move to a compulsory redundancy situation without regard to the agreements undersigned by Ministers prior to TR.
As you might expect, we are in the process of pointing out that this scenario is totally unacceptable (as are the quantum job cuts) and we will support industrial action if that is what members decide they want us to organise. It already looks like an issue that smacks of a breach of the CRC contract and one which may find itself being put before the Minister for discussion. If so, we will be asking that the CRC’s and their owners be invited to explain this despicable manoeuvre to avoid their responsibilities.
I hope to have more details next week, but once again we are seeing the unravelling of the true TR agenda as profit rather than rehabilitation has become the imperative.
Foot in Mouth outbreak
Just before Xmas the tinsel really hit the fan in the West and Wales CRC’s as a prime example of how not to communicate with staff was issued inadvertently by Working Links. This sparked fury amongst members which Napo directed at senior management resulting in withdrawal and an apology.
Credit where it is due for acknowledging the error, but sadly the lessons do not appear to have been heeded higher up the food chain. Evidenced by a communique from WL Chief Executive Phil Andrew which greeted CRC staff returning to their desks on Monday with what, in my long memory, is right up there in one of the worst examples of corporate bulls**t that I have ever seen.
I don’t have the time or inclination to reproduce it all, but the ‘happy clappy’ missive starts by taking about how the company needs everyone (sic) in the 3 CRC’s to pull together to deliver the new intervention model, with not even a word about the 40% intended staff cuts. It gets worse as it ‘bigs up’ WL’s European and Global successes in their employment arm which I have already been asked is surely being subsidised by its rehabilitation activities? If not bad enough by this time, the icing on the mouldy cake was the one about their relationship with Saudi Arabia; I can only surmise that this was penned long before the mass public executions on New Year’s Day.
Incredible, if not excruciating.
MTCnovo a result for members
Some good news for once contained in a letter from Ian Poree the Contracts Chief at NOMS who, following intervention from Napo through Colin Allars confirmed that displaced staff from MTCnovo, who were undertaking reception and facilities duties in the departing NPS, would not be made redundant on their return from the Xmas break.
This followed an unholy row of the ‘not me Guv’ variety between NOMS and the CRC over who was responsible for their redeployment, but happily a solution was found. Unfortunately the bigger problems of estate closures and redeployment still need sorting.
Justice Alliance and Napo standing together once again
I felt very proud to have been invited to join a panel of speakers which included Jeremy Corbyn at the packed campaign rally against cuts to legal aid this week. Here I was able to update our friends on the shambolic post TR situation that has developed and to pledge Napo’s commitment to our joint causes. The introduction of the new (Michel Gove) replacement puppet for Chris Grayling was as ironic as it was hilarious.
There is some great coverage on twitter feeds and the JA website if you want to know more, but it was just the invigorating start that I needed to get the New Year underway. It was a privilege to be amongst so many decent hard working people who just as our members do, care about what’s happening to our criminal justice system.
Supporting the Junior Doctors in their struggle
Talking of struggles here is one that we all ought to get behind, for as all our members surely know, the Junior Doctors are due to come out on strike following the breakdown of negotiations with the government.
The timetable looks like this:
· 12 January 2016
Emergency care only between 8am on Tuesday, 12 January and 8am on Wednesday, 13 January (24 hours)
· 26 January 2016 – 28 January 2016
Emergency care only between 8am on Tuesday, 26 January and 8am on Thursday, 28 January (48 hours)
· 10 February 2016
Full withdrawal of labour between 8am and 5pm on Wednesday, 10 February
You can find further information, including a picketing map, at http://oneprofession.bma.org.uk/
The BMA have informed us that most picket lines will be from 8.00am to 10.00 at local hospitals. In larger towns members are going into the town centre at 10.00 for a rally and then back to the hospital, but I don’t have any more specific information at the moment, as this has been left for local representatives to organise.
See if you can get along somewhere to show your support?