My experience of many sets of pay negotiations over the years is that a delicate balance is required between keeping members up to date with news of progress whilst maintaining the necessary confidentiality.
The position as I write, is that we are now into the final few days of exchanges with the employer as the substantive negotiations which shape the basis of a pay offer and which require all parties to be present are pretty much exhausted.
That said, there is still important work to be done; this will include the drafting of a final pay offer by the employer based on the outcomes of the negotiations, final crunching of numbers to make sure it all adds up and an equality impact assessment of that offer before it is formally presented to the unions, and discussions about the desirability or feasibility of any joint communications.
At our end, we will be finalising our initial thinking around the consultative timetable and the various communications that we will need to issue. Most crucially for Napo and before we are able to issue the offer, we will need to have called your Probation Negotiating Committee in to give us their view. We are also looking at the feasibility of holding a pay briefing for Branch Reps who are attending at the AGM itself.
One of the biggest areas of complaint from our members in previous consultative exercises on pay has been the requirement for votes to be cast at office meetings and then aggregated, which all too often because of pressures of work are not always well attended.
It is, in my view, a somewhat cumbersome and outmoded process but if that is the one we are left with following the debate on a proposed Constitutional Amendment at the Napo AGM in Southport to introduce e-balloting, then we will of course do all we can to support it.
Should Conference decide to support the change then it will signal the start of a new era for Napo in terms of our members being able to vote on a key industrial issue directly by electronic means. This scenario would not replace the need for local meetings on pay and the centre will very much endorse and support the need for these to take place. Members can be assured that our thinking on all the above, and subject of course to us receiving a decent pay offer, is that if members choose to accept it then we would want to see it paid out at the earliest opportunity.
I will bring you more news on the ballot timetable and the pay offer itself once the above activities have concluded. Meanwhile if you are working alongside colleagues who do not currently belong to a trade union then you might want to mention that they will be eligible to take part in the pay ballot as long as they sign up to Napo membership.
Just a few weeks to the 2018 AGM in Southport. It’s not too late to register and you can obtain all the information you need by clicking this LINK
Napo News on Friday
Look out for more news later this week on a range of other important issues in the Friday mail out, including our views on the Probation Consultation exercise and where we are with the ViSOR dispute. It’s proving to be a popular source of information and saves me trying to cover too many issues in my weekly offering.