A frantic week. One truncated by a bank holiday and some leave which I have been trying to take for ages, during which I did a few radio interviews about the job cut announcements in the Sodexo owned CRC's.
I am posting this straight after an excellent meeting today of Napo Sodexo reps organised by Ranjit Singh, where the scale of the planned reductions, the handling of communications by Sodexo and Napo's response to the situation were given some very serious consideration.
Napo challenge validity of 'Consultation'
Aside from the fact that we have made it clear that we are opposed to the cuts as 'downright dangerous' in terms of public safety and operational capacity, we will also be making the point to Sodexo that we do not believe that we have reached the point where formal consultation has started about the planned cuts, even if Sodexo think otherwise.
Meanwhile, we cannot advise our members in Sodexo to not attend the meetings that are being convened for staff at risk of redundancy next week, but we can say that you should simply make it clear that you are attending on a 'without prejudice' basis pending more advice from your union. Also sounds like another opportunity to approach non-union colleagues to join Napo.
At today's Napo meeting it was also agreed that discussions should take place between JNCC Union reps to consider lodging a failure to agree and formal disputes to the NNC Joint Secretaries, one has already been received which we have asked to be tabled at next week's meeting of the National Negotiating Council.
Sodexo were in the spotlight at this mornings Labour Party pre-election briefing on Law and Justice (see more about this below) where Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan was especially critical of their absurd plans to replace people with biometric machines.
Its all building up a fair head of steam for the unions joint meeting with the mighty conglomerate on 20th April, and it would be interesting to know who the brave CRC chiefs are who I am told have had the temerity to express their concerns about the Company's failure to guarantee that they will honour the Early Voluntary Redundancy scheme enshrined in the National Agreement.
You can help us to maintain the pressure by ensuring that Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPC's) in the Sodexo contract package areas are made aware of what is going on and what they would do about it if elected.
Here is what the Unions have sent in to Sodexo in advance of that meeting: JTU 08-15 correspondence to Sodoxo
Law and Justice for all
Was the theme of the event that Tania Bassett and I attended today hosted by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper. Like many of these type of presentations that I have attended over the years it's easy for a would be government to ridicule the achievements of the outgoing administration. Only this time it was easier than usual with the debacles on Legal Aid, Probation Reform and Prison overcrowding that have been presided over by the Coalition.
I will arrange for a link to be published for the mini manifesto which I have to say doesn't fully reflect the commitments made by Sadiq Kahn today in response to my and other questions about the Probation Service, or more pertinently Labour's concerns about the already mixed bag performance wise by some of the CRC owners.
Members will know that because of the 10 year 'poison pill' clauses inserted by the Privateers best friend Chris Grayling, Labour have never been able to commit to automatically scrapping the CRC contracts (much as we would all like them to) if they make it over the finishing line on May 7th, so the emphasis has to be on service delivery failure and suspect operating models that put the public at risk.
Sadiq's responses were reasonably encouraging, but should he make it to the hot seat our members will expect to see more flesh on the bones in terms of an action plan that must surely include an independent (or even a Royal) commission to look at the impact of the TR shambles and its huge cost to the taxpayer.
We will be publishing our General Election pack on Monday which will include Napo's 'Manifesto Asks' for the Parties for you to utilise locally, a link to the list of all of the PPC's by constituency and party and some general guidance about Do's and Dont's if you intend to actively get involved in campaigning activities or represent Napo's views at any 'Hustings' that are taking place in your locality.
NPS payment problems continue
This is becoming a nightmare for some of our members who have been caught up in the chaos caused by the newly outsourced Shared Service Division responsible for administering pay and pensions to NPS staff.
PQF trainees, and transferees into the NPS from a CRC have been particularly vulnerable to not receiving the correct pay, not having union subs deducted or seeing them overpaid, having pension contributions go into the Civil Service Pension Scheme instead of LGPS or not receiving the expected amendments to pay following previously estimated monthly arrangements.
If you are affected by these or other related problems please contact us at email@example.com (BR 30-2015 circular) and if you have moved location or switched between a CRC to NPs or vice-versa, be sure to contact firstname.lastname@example.org without fail which will help us enormously with updating our central records.
We have had excellent assistance from the NOMS' Business Partner assigned to the problem and we are slowly building up a list of individuals in need of assistance. As you would expect this shambles will be another hot topic for discussion with senior NOMS management next week.
Have a good weekend.