As we expected, some of the CRC providers have reacted to the NPS settlement by making some movement on the pay front.
Sadly, it is still not enough in terms of our campaign to secure pay equity across the NPS and the CRCs, and I will shortly be writing to providers to say as much. Because of the recent flurry of activity and the need to review the overall picture at tomorrow’s meeting of your National Executive Committee, these communications and a more detailed update will follow shortly for all members.
News that the MoJ are to run pilot opening schemes in the civil and family courts in Manchester and Brentford has not been met with universal acclaim by the practitioner community.
By the look of it, the feedback on the public consultation raises a number of doubts about the effectiveness of extending the concept of Flexible Opening Hours with many respondents saying that it looks like the decision has already been made (sounds familiar?). Anyway, see the MoJ prospectus here:
Apparently, the consultation process seems to have bypassed local solicitors in Manchester who have reported that the announcement was the first time that they had heard of the scheme. It is unclear at this stage whether Cafcass actually submitted a response or not.
I have already seen some very useful feedback from members in Cafcass. This essentially suggests that although there two pilot schemes to explore, there are worries that what seems to be sensible practice e.g. allocating certain types of listing to specific times, such as first directions in the morning and emergency care cases in the evening, might soon give way to the pressures brought about by the sheer volume of work.
The Family Court Section are already taking steps to raise this development with senior management. Its odds on that other unions operating in the civil and family courts will also have a few things to say about it and the potential impact on terms and conditions. We will continue to monitor developments and provide regular updates to the Justice and Family Courts Parliamentary Group.
News just in from Dean Rogers that we have been swamped with calls from angry and very confused NPS members who have received unhelpful and unclear communications from SSCL, saying that their pay protection is being reduced.
The problem is that SSCL seem to be failing to clearly communicate the facts about the impact of the pay deal on current pay protection, instead, members are seeing the letters as serving notice of a pay cut which is incorrect.
We are asking our NPS contact to check out the problem and get back to us double quick.
I have been providing the statements emanating from the Trades Union Congress on Brexit developments over the past few weeks and here is the latest message to affiliated unions from General Secretary Frances O’Grady and a briefing note which was written just before yesterday’s developments at the EU.
I wanted to write to you to update you on recent political and policy developments around Brexit.
As you know, last week the draft Withdrawal Agreement and outline political declaration were published, with an updated version of the political declaration leaked yesterday (Thursday 22nd November). Despite ongoing negotiations, it is expected that text will be finalised at the EU summit on Sunday 25 November.
During the past week the Prime Minister has been hit with a series of resignations from Secretaries of State and Ministers who oppose the deal and there is a long list of backbench MPs who have indicated that they will not vote for the deal. The Government’s DUP coalition partners have indicated that they will not support the deal in its current form.
However, Mrs May has yet to be subject to a vote of no confidence from within her own party and appears confident that she would win a challenge at this stage. A number of prominent remain Tory MPs have indicated that they will support the deal. And at the CBI conference this week big business lined up behind the Prime Minister’s proposed deal and is organising a major lobbying campaign in support.
We know that over the coming days and weeks this pro-government campaign will pick up pace. And as we discussed at the EC’s recent away day, it is essential that the voice and interests of working people are heard in this debate.
We hope that the points in the document attached will be of use in your interventions and rebuttals, and we encourage you to share this information within your unions. Similarly, if you or colleagues would like to discuss how to use the TUC’s campaigning tools to encourage your members to contact MPs, please get in touch with our Public Affairs Manager Sara Ogilvie (firstname.lastname@example.org / 07920 784125). It would also be enormously helpful if you could keep Sara informed of any planned statements, articles, or reactive work. This will help us to promote our collective pro-jobs, pro-workers’ rights message.
We’ll continue to keep you updated as further details become available on the parliamentary debate around the Withdrawal Agreement.