2024 a pivotal year for Napo members
New Year greetings to all our members and hoping that you had as restful a break as possible from the pressures of the workplace.
While there has been intense speculation this week about when a General Election will take place, we have no option but to press our claims without prejudice to the political landscape that may emerge.
As you would expect, your Officers and Officials are already working on our immediate priorities as we resume engagement with your employers.
Within Cafcass, it's already clear from the dismissive response we've received for an emergency funding package, that there is a huge disconnect between what senior management are saying on workloads and retention, and the continual pressures on staff which lead to many leaving for better paid jobs. Some members have pointed out that while our claims are rejected senior Cafcass management are the highest paid anywhere across the social work sector.
We're going to engage with UNISON at the earliest opportunity to ensure that we put together a justifiable pay claim with effect from 1st April.
In Probation Northern Ireland the trade unions have been working hard to agree a business case that will support a pay modernisation package. This will hopefully provide a competitive reward structure to help retain PBNI staff who, just as is the case in England and Wales, are facing massive workload pressures.
The engagement process has been going on for a considerable amount of time and we will be seeking to secure an offer that can be subject to membership consultation sooner rather than later.
In terms of Probation England and Wales, as we have previously reported, the trade unions have been involved in recent high level dialogue with the Secretary of State Alex Chalk, and have submitted a wealth of information to him to highlight the many serious issues being faced by our members.
Among this was a formal claim to urgently reopen pay talks to explore the possibility of an interim funding package to bring some relief to staff who despite the three-year pay deal, either find themselves struggling with the cost of living, or who have decided that their pay just does not compare against that on offer elsewhere. Other staff report general disillusion as being the reason to leave or take early retirement from the service. This week has seen us table a number of Parliamentary Questions for the resumption of business and another damning report has appeared in the media see: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/crisis-probation-service-staffing-sees-31783909
Next week your Probation Negotiating Committee meet in advance of a special National Executive Committee. They will consider what has been a hugely disappointing formal reply from the Lord Chancellor to the above request.
We will issue more news of their deliberations as soon as we can.