The Current Consultative Ballot

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Emergency Motions were comprehensively passed at Napo’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October 2023 that directed our National Officers and Officers to enter urgent discussions and negotiations with HMPPS senior management on pay and workloads.

A request to re-open the current pay deal was refused – with no plans currently in place to commence negotiations on the next pay deal – and insufficient progress has been made on achieving workload relief for as many members as possible.

At this stage we believe we have no option but to seek the views of Probation members of Napo as to whether our next step is to act, including taking some form of industrial action. This is not a step that we take lightly at all, as those of us who were members during previous periods of industrial action can recall, but it is right that we do so at this point, having exhausted all other options.

As we’ve discussed previously at this stage members are only voting on whether action, including some form of industrial action. If it is a sufficiently powerful positive vote, then what happens next is still for us as a trade union to decide on in the weeks and months following the closure of this ballot on the 5th of July. Again, this will be a collective decision, reflecting on the lessons of the past while planning which options give us the greatest chance of success, that is put to a further (postal) ballot for members to take a final decision on at some point in the future.

Based on the manifestos of the two political parties who will almost certainly form the next Westminster government, and the public statements of their leaders, there is no evidence that the outcome of next week’s General Election alone will bring any immediate, or even short to medium term, benefits for our members in relation to the joint issues of poor pay or excessive workloads.

Our position is it is crucial we speak with the strongest possible voice to demonstrate to our employer the clear intent of our members. It remains a possibility that a high turnout of members in favour of some form of future industrial action could place additional pressure on HMPPS senior management.

All members have their own views on whether they believe they are fairly paid and have a workload that is manageable – this current ballot gives us the opportunity to turn this into a collective voice that gives us the greatest chance to change these working conditions. Communications from Napo have been sent regularly on the ballot in recent weeks, including who to contact if members are having any issues with voting, and these will continue until the day the ballot closes. We would recommend non-members, now more than ever, join this trade union before next Friday to ensure they can vote and take part in the wider movement. Finally, we would ask any current members who have yet to vote to do so at the earliest opportunity.

Ben Cockburn

Napo Acting National Chair