Covid-19 Bulletin 17 – 1 May 2020

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Urgent action in Merseyside

Local reps, working with national officers, have secured urgent action in Merseyside in response to grave concerns about health and safety and the ability of members to maintain social distancing on the Court workplace. Thanks to their efforts a deep clean has been carried out during a temporary closure and new measures put in place to minimise numbers in the workplace and maintain social distancing. Napo members continue to work in difficult circumstances and the position of the union remains that, apart from in Approved Premises, social distancing must be maintained at all times in the workplace. Your union is here to help, please contact your local reps for advice and support.

Unions press Minister to extend Government Life Assurance Scheme for Probation staff and investigate impact of Covid19 on Black/BAME staff

Napo, UNISON and GMB have written to the Justice Minister Lucy Frazer to request that the Government’s £60,000 life assurance payment to the families/dependents of deceased NHS/Social Care workers as a result of Coronavirus, be extended to cover Probation staff.

Official information supplied to the Unions indicates that so far, 5 probation staff have died (2 CRC staff, 1 NPS member of staff, 1 agency worker and 1 private contractor employee). In our letter to the Minister we have pointed out that from a total probation workforce of 18,000 this is a high ratio of deaths to total employee numbers and is a matter of considerable concern. Moreover, we have pointed out that Probation work is also unique in the combination of close face-to-face contact with service users and intense work undertaken in the residential settings of prison and approved premises, with a very high proportion of the workforce recognised as ‘front line.’

Napo and our sister unions are seeking to establish the number of Black/BAME staff as a proportion of those probation staff who have tragically died in service. We have been reassured that the absence of this data is now being rectified and once it is received the unions will be looking to work with HMPPS to urgently review what measures might be necessary to protect Black/BAME staff should the data indicate a disproportionate impact of Covid19 on the mortality of these workers.

Further talks, If you or any member of staff you know is isolating in an abusive relationship please seek help immediately. You can call the national help line on 0808 2000 247 for advice. If you are in danger and cannot speak you can call 999 then press 55. This will alert the police and they will come to your home. Alternatively you could contact Napo via tbassett@napo.org.uk.

Napo members anger at inadequate NPS Special Payments Scheme

Napo has made it repeatedly clear that we have not agreed to the terms of the above scheme. Principally, this is because it fails to adequately remunerate staff and is insufficiently inclusive. Nevertheless, the HQ team and Officers have been working very hard to answer lots of queries about the scheme. We have repeatedly raised these with HMPPS and at yesterday’s TU Engagement meeting we did so again. As a result there is to be further review by senior HMMP management to try and arrive at a consistent approach. The unions have made our concerns very clear in advance of that review and hope that these will be taken on board. We will share any feedback as soon as we have it.

TUCG May Day Booklet

Napo are among the contributors to this excellent booklet commemorating May Day and the vital contributions that trade union members make to the running of the UK and the well-being of its citizens etc. DOWNLOAD PDF