Napo standing up for all our members
Today, across six Community Rehabilitation Companies owned by Sodexo, staff are hearing whether they are in scope for the proposed redundancy programme that the company first revealed last Easter.
Last night I issued a Branch Briefing BR/76/2015 which summarised Napo's approach to the attempts by Sodexo to only offer around half of the Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy (EVR) terms to those of their staff who are facing the loss of their employment.
The briefing and comprehensive position statement that goes with it, are well worth a few minutes reading. They ought to leave nobody in any doubt about the stand we are making against this enormous and blatant challenge to national collective bargaining and the immoral stance being adopted by a company who plead poverty on the one hand yet have secured huge operational profits this year on the other. A company, who we have also learned, are now chasing the MoJ for more taxpayer’s cash in reparation for the non-provision of the ICT bridging that they were promised before share sale and perversely, are looking to recruit probation officers at £25 per hour.
Members in those CRCs who receive the briefing from their Chief Executives this morning will not unreasonably ask why they find themselves in this situation. The answer is simple: it's called privatisation; profit before justice and to hell with the workforce who are there merely as commercial commodities. Add to that the shambolic and politically expedient way in which TR was rushed through and the gaping holes in the contracts that none of the unions were given access to, and you kind of get the whole picture.
The joint unions Reps meeting in London tomorrow will afford us an opportunity to receive news of the reaction from members to the announcements. Already I hear that one Chief Executive has privately indicated to some staff that they don’t think there will be any takers of the sub-standard EVR package and that they think the MoJ should pay!
Therein lies the problem; the share sale took place later than intended and our members are being squeezed into making a choice between standing their ground and the risk of compulsory redundancy on inferior terms or taking what I have previously described (and do so again) as an offer bordering on extortion. So who should pay? That’s obviously an important question, but more pertinently, someone ought to.
I am starting to receive reports from the CRCs as I write so will have to leave it there for now, but I want to make it absolutely clear that Napo are committed to doing the right thing for our members in those CRCs. As always we will be guided by what you want us to do, so please make sure that your voice is heard on this issue when the opportunity presents itself.
Transparency on the Check Off extension
As you will have seen from a previous posting, Napo has been granted three extra months to make the changes to our database to enable us to cope with the ending of deduction of union dues at source to new system whereby individual members (in the NPS initially) will be asked to sign over to Direct Debit. Your National Executive Committee (NEC) who met this week agreed with me that whilst it was positive news, it was not an excuse to ease up on our quest to convince members of the importance of making the switchover as soon as possible. We have issued regular bulletins and guidance for members on how this can easily be done, and we will have online facilities available sometime over the summer as we work at full speed with our technical advisers.
As for the Ministers decision, it's worth remembering that unlike the other unions within the MoJ/NOMS we have unique difficulties in making this change which poses significant threats to our cashflow (that’s part of the plot by those in the Tory party who see this as another way to try and put us out of business). In addition, Napo are required by our Constitution to take any changes to our subscription rates to our AGM in October and the Officers reported to the NEC on some work that is being undertaken to see how we might be able to make our subs more competitive in the future. Whilst we intend to publish more news about this as soon as we can, it also needs to be recognised that we have not operated direct debit facilities in the way that we will need to in the future, and that it has cost us a considerable amount of money to make the change.
I am never one to get ahead of myself about a good result, but nobody else secured an extension to the cessation of ‘check off’ despite all their efforts, and Gove has had to convince the Cabinet Office that Napo were a special case. The section in his letter about Napo ‘engaging in negotiations’ is merely a statement of the obvious; it’s what your Officials and Officers do every day on a massive range of issues covering all of our members. I very much doubt we would have got the same result from the Secretary of State’s predecessor.
Napo will need all our members to work together to face this major challenge to our finances and operational capacity and I hope you will do all that you can to support the switchover campaign. If you think you can help within your Branch please contact Chas Berry National Vice-Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org).
More news next week.