Sunday, 11 October 2015

Napo AGM News

According to this extract from the latest blog by the General Secretary, it does indeed look as if quoracy is going to be a major issue this year:-

AGM set to make some big decisions

As always happens in the run up to an AGM, we receive some enquiries from a few members who are leaving it late to decide about making the trip, as to what happens to the Agenda if any part of Conference is inquorate.

As things stand we are still receiving applications and there is still time to apply online and secure your attendance at the reduced rate so please head to the Napo website and you will find the straightforward link.

The Officers have made it clear, and I support them in this 100%, that there is no way we are going down to Eastbourne to sit around twiddling our thumbs because of a rule that says we need 5% of our membership present to make any sort of decision. A number of members have told me that they are worried that the quoracy rule is itself becoming a barrier to engagement, and fails to reflect the world we are in where facility time has been cut and the fact that work commitments mean people are not always able, year after year, to take three days out of their commitments.

We are of the view that any periods of inqouracy (should there be any), will not prevent debates and decisions being taken and later ratified by the NEC once the necessary procedural aspects are put in place.

A conference is a conference, and we are there to do the members' business. If you are debating whether to come along then don’t dither, sign on today!

I am as always looking forward to spending precious time with members at the AGM next week.

More next week before we head off to Eastbourne.


--oo00oo--

There are signs the appeals are working:-

I just booked trains and accommodation and registered for NAPO conference. Of course it's all shit, we have a relentless horrible Tory government in power, hell bent on destruction of our country and its institutions. (not overdramatising: if I was in Scotland or even Wales I would be highly motivated to separate with immediate effect). Of course NAPO could have done better. Bring on the debate, but lets get there and debate it. And lets be a Union. In fact, lets be a Union affiliated to the Labour Party. This is bigger than us as individuals, and us as Probation. Burning to sign this in my own name, bloody gagged.

But there's trouble brewing:-

Dear Jim,

You may be interested to learn that there is a potentially damaging controversy brewing prior to Napo AGM about the interviewing and appointment of National Napo Reps. Out of the seven who were shortlisted three fairly weak barely known candidates were selected. What is interesting is those who were rejected who are mostly well known activists including a former CAFCASS Chair, a former Kent Chair, and also apparently the current London Chair all with solid reputations as experienced Reps over many years. 


Would they really want to alienate those who are widely regarded as being those who opposed TR and put Chivalry Road efforts to shame? Naturally this has caused a certain amount of anger directed towards Chivalry Road at what is being seen as a snub that they now want to hush up. Napo members are slowly beginning to become aware as news of the appointments seeps out. Those at the top of Napo would be most concerned should any hint of this controversy appear in social media outlets.

Just to let you know,
Regards

52 comments:

  1. Jim, this is another interesting piece of inside news which yet again brings into question the top table decision making. I am still unsure what happened to the previous national reps and why they have had to be replaced? I'm regularly worried about the lack of accountability and transparency from NAPO and it's questionable conduct over matters of appointment. We have ineffective people running the show, for example I have not heard the joint chairs names mentioned since they were appointed so one wonders how active are they, and the point of being the chair is to be prominent and effective in the role. It would be interesting to see how many would even know the names of the chairs - they have taken a significant post and buried it quietly. This is particularly annoying when you consider the calibre of others who stood for election and we're pipped to the post. The top table is useless and needs to be removed and replaced if our union is to recover and survive. The lack of participation in the AGM is testament to the feeling of the members and the G.S et al should grasp the message being given and step aside to make way for capable people with proven track records of success. Sometime those who shout loudest do get heard. Let those who can fight our corner have the opportunity.

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  2. Well this is all very embarrassing for a once proud trade union and professional association. Napo struggling to get even 5% of its membership to conference and failing to appoint its present and former leading branch activists as national representatives.

    Could the reason for this be that the General Secretary and his cronies fear having people who don't always say 'Yes' and dance to their tune around?

    No doubt we will never be told.......

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  3. Interesting that the letter could well be from someone working in Napo HQ who are no doubt worried about the direction of travel. The National Reps have long been seen as one of Napo's major assetts therefore the news that things do not seem to be quite right with them is worrying. I have heard elsewhere that more long serving reps are considering throwing in the towel. Am I right in deducing that Pat Waterman chair of London was rejected as a national rep. I am sure that London Napo members who are always at the AGM in force will not be too happy about that. Goodbye Mr Lawrence.

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    1. Does anybody know in procedural terms exactly what we can do to get rid of this lot at AGM?

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    2. The National officers are contracted napo employees and as such they have employment rights. The employers are the NEC. The employers would have to have substantial grounds to dismiss or seek the resignation of any employee as they would no doubt seek their own unions advice (GMB, PCS etc) to fight on their behalf. The GS is unlikely to be in breach of his contract even if he becomes very unpopular.

      In the case of elected officials such as the Chair etc they are elected for a term of office. If the GS resigned then his job would be advertised interviews take place and members consulted as in the last instance.

      If there was a motion calling for the resignation of all elected officials (who are of course different from napo employees) and this was carried and they all resigned then there would be a ballot.

      So the answer is that it would be very difficult to get rid of anyone as opponents have decided to vote with their feet rather than attend AGM where their vote might have counted.

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    3. Without seeing the interview ratings, calling them weak is guesswork. As for being barely known, so what?

      Should branch chairs be a shoo-in? It does not follow that being a local branch chair furnishes the skills to represent individuals across the country. New people stepping forward may be a good thing.

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    4. New people do not step forward to be national reps they are asked to apply by the GS or AGS. No one who is not asked need bother applying. It is certainly not a level playing field and interview panels are said to be heavily weighted against ordinary members ie dominated by paid napo staff. It's been a bit of an old boys club over the years and recent resignations have not been properly explained. What is known is that if your face fits you get asked to join the panel and if you are known to ask awkward questions or make waves you then the Chivalry Rd dominated selection panel will ensure you are not asked to join. However if there may be grounds to appeal or you are likely to make a fuss you can be appointed on a token basis but it is then unlikely that you will be given any work.

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    5. I wish had I written that . It is an excellent account of the way it is done. Nepotism is a big factor in NAPO sadly. There is a lot said but they do not deliver. Those who were selected though are good people they want to support members so respect to them.

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  4. There are conflicting arguments here. We want the top table to do what we, the members, want but we are also complaining that the reps we., the members, elect are the wrong people for the job. You cannot have it both ways.

    I suspect the reason why there is a problem with quoracy is that many are still unsure of where their careers are going. Many of those who are still members are already set to lose their jobs over the coming months (October, November, December, Febrauary, March, April - all have been listed as leaving dates for those involved). I am leaving 31/10 and will remain a NAPO member until that date but there is no real reason for me to attend conference now that I am going. My local branch is losing about 40% of its CRC members over the next six months through severance. These people are mostly happy to go because THE PROBATION SERVICE has turned into a parody of it's former self. Their decision to leave NAPO is, to my knowledge, linked to this only in as much as it is pointless to remain in NAPO is you are not in working in Probation.

    In short, quoracy is determined by the CURRENT membership level. A significant number of the current members are leaving imminently and, consequently, quoracy figures will change almost overnight.

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    1. I think you have misunderstood what is being said and are confused about the players referred to

      There are paid Napo employees including the GS, AGS (top table) and napo admin and support based at Chivalry Rd

      Elected officials Chair, Vice Chair etc (top table)

      National Reps - Are usually experienced reps ex chairs etc who are invited to apply and are selected by interview and are paid for the work they do for members at tribunals and serious job threatening situations They are pretty vital if Napo is to remain a credible union with professional clout (behind the scenes)

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  5. The GS blog begins with a criticism of politicians who dismiss protest as unrepresentative and goes on to prefer the view of "a number of members" who have queried the importance of quoracy. It is this selectivity in judgements that quoracy protects against. It is his inability to see the connection which scares.
    Quoracy has been a problem in the past and the number required reduced as a consequence (constitutional motion proposed and approved). Decisions (at best indicative votes) from an unrepresentative sample of the membership should have limited status.
    As a GS I doubt if he can state other than he supports the officers 100%- to do otherwise would be a serious career move- but I am concerned that the officers' displeasure at "twiddling their thumbs" should be sufficient to abandon constitutional propriety. Perhaps they can pause in their thumb twiddling to consider why there are no published NAPO press releases in relation to the Tory conference especially Gove's speech. (Napo does have a press officer I thought).
    I would anticipate many points of orders should they try. Added to that a sprinkling of "points of information" and "move next business" and NAPO melts down rather than bakes off. I would prefer the latter but doubt if we have the cooks.

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  6. I'm literally going to conference to see top brass be held to account. It's going to be good as I hear London have an avalanche of poor leadership evidence against the top brass. I also hear a coup is on the cards

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    1. I seriously fucking hope that's true!!

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    2. I am with you and that's a show I would have paid for but did not see that on the table of motions ! I hope the pair of chairs take a new simple majority of vote of themselves and ban the monitors as well as the rules in the constitution that way we can all have a bit of free speech as well. Oh it wont matter if it is not quorate sorry .

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  7. I agree with 10.54 that there are fundamental questions about the validity of indicative ballots taken in a sub-quorate AGM. Using the NEC to covert the 'will' of a constitutionally unrepresentative AGM into policy would still leave such policy open to the charge that it lacked a full democratic mandate. There is sophistry in the justifications offered by IL. To say it's because of some 5% rule is true, but that 5% threshold is key principle of whether a AGM is constitutional and once it's breached it's forever compromised.

    An inability for the AGM to formally approve/defeat motions is not going to hamstring Napo from pursuing the spirit of any of the motions that directly impacts on the working lives of the membership. It will not mean, for example, that there will be no opposition to the Trade Union Bill or that officers and officials will be twiddling their fingers for the next twelve months, because the AGM did not vote on this or that motion. Rather this than bending the constitution into an illegitimate shape for the sake of expediency.

    This worry about quoracy may turn out to academic on the day, but if not, then it needs to be addressed in the months ahead, not at five minutes to midnight.

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  8. Ranjit for chair?

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    1. Ranjit - hahaha the comedy is priceless

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    2. No he would make a chair look what we have now nothing can get any worse ! No quoracy required come make it up as you go along, read all about it no democracy here its been voted out by two of us. You can see its ridiculous. I think we just vote Him in as the GS the numbers do not matter. He could not make things any worse certainly cannot do anything now anyway. The AGM is at risk and delegate membership is most likely.

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    3. You cannot vote a GS in as there is no vacancy and it is a job not an electable position. Ranjit is a nice guy and a good friend but he would be the first to admit he is not leadership material.

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    4. Are you serious the post is a farce and it is an elected post wake up. If your a friend and you give any advice its pretty obvious what has been said on here is correct read it properly. The standards of intellect on here sometimes ?

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    5. According to the Napo Constitution

      12

      (c) The General Secretary shall be elected by secret ballot of full
      members every five years. The election shall be held at a
      convenient time prior to the five year period elapsing. She or he
      shall be eligible for re-election.

      (d) Nominations to the election for the post of General Secretary
      shall be governed by procedures agreed from time to time by the
      NEC. Applicants for election will be considered by a staffing subcommittee of the NEC, consisting of no less than four and no more than five members of the NEC, usually including the Chair and a Vice-Chair and a co-opted member of the recognised trade union for Napo staff (in line with 12(f) below). Only applicants deemed ‘electable’ by the staffing sub-committee shall then go forward for nomination in writing by branches/sections or the NEC, with the consent of the nominee.

      ---------------------------------------------
      Once appointed following proper advetisement sifting of applications nomination and election the person appointed as GS is then treated like any other employee for the duration of his contract.

      You can't just say mid term that you don't like him and get rid of him, hold an election, and dismiss him. It would need a united effort by members and the NEC and there would have to be substantial reasons to dismiss him ie breach of contract.

      It's not going to happen.

      He is eligible for reelection in 2018 so that's the earliest you can unelect him.

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  9. a rule that says we need 5% of our membership present to make any sort of decision.

    Well there we are? Is this why the GS is such a failure ? The rules are there for you to follow. As such the GS should caution the Officers group to follow the constitution. If as he claims it is their decision and he 100% supports then he is illustrating his own incompetence. This is the sort of error he makes all through the TR sell off. We lost because the GS does not understand the role he has and governance he should consult members on. Too many hot off the hip decisions and total failure ensues. Where does he draw support and his advice from because they are the wrong crowd. Any ruling the chairs try and make under this plan is already lost the constitution is what manages the union. Members will not let them get away with that as any decision becomes challenged. The rules and the numbers then will we need a chair challenge and 4 to support ? Or 1 as we don't have a quorum number. Is that vote carried or can we have a count of what half an audience. This is absurd and it is a crowning error of the GS failings. There will be more to come no doubt as they get into the deeper mess of their making. The certification process for the annual accounts? Can that be passed ? A complaint will hold that up too, will the chair decide based on a whim as they have no idea what to do. The membership turn out may well have lost a few for many reasons stated but in another way it does mark the end of confidence in the Chairs the GS and the other silent group all holding on for a pay-out. They ought to be resigning and open the show up they have to realise its a collective failure.

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    1. Steering committee will either have to corrupt itself and join the fools errand or hold the line and challenge any non quorum business attempts by the errant chairs. makes you wonder else they have been sliding on ?

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    2. so it won't matter if 50 or 500 members attend AGM....the email states business will just carry on as though the session was quorate albeit decisions to be later ratified by the NEC....have I just slipped into some sort of parallel conference universe? Power delegated to the few?.....and NAPO used to pride itself on being more democratic than other unions........laughing stock tragically comes to mind......Bobbyjoe

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  10. FROM TWITTER: -

    philippa budgen @PhilippaBudgen

    Must watch: @BBCPanorama tomorrow. Gove fact finds in US prisons + courts to fuel UK 'reform' agenda.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3267742/Has-depraved-Texan-gangster-convinced-Gove-jails-extraordinary-encounter-UK-s-Justice-Secretary-reformed-hoodlum-revolutionise-penal-policy-let-criminals-streets.html …

    https://twitter.com/PhilippaBudgen/status/653232778323062785 "

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  11. Off topic alarm

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    1. Go away you irritating cretin 19:47

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    2. nice reception hatton give a TV update which you can get in the daily rag and this idiot resurrects the word cretin. I prefer moron for you. Hatton annoys its not his fault he is just irritating of the subject all the time and you support that trite . Other want to see a clear thread linkage to the developing story and yet hatton stands up for the tv pages. As this was irritating to you twerp so is hatton to many of us reading through his additional misdirection's. Sometimes he is ok but get a life !

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    3. It's not all about you. There are other readers of this blog who like to be kept up to date with all things probation / criminal justice ☺

      Delete
  12. Thanks Andrew I will watch, appreciate you letting us know.
    A PO

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  13. Yes thanks for the reminder Andrew .

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  14. FROM TWITTER: -

    " StaffsOffenderMgmt Retweeted

    Probation Officer ‏@PoOfficer Oct 7

    My CRC friends being forced to work out of their car. No laptops as promised, no iPads, just a £9.99 mobile. #Probation

    https://twitter.com/PoOfficer/status/651819694467469314 "

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    Replies
    1. Omg there is no way I would work out of my car. Its downright dangerous and I would shout that very loudly at widely at whoever I needed to.

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  15. Hatton stop it. No one reads your shite. You post off topic to wind us good folk up. I'm speaking to Jim about getting you banned.

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    1. Seriously? Get over yourself...

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    2. note to 0025 - if it's about probation/prison then surely it's topical.

      Delete
  16. Apologies off topic but I heard something on the radio this morning which seems to ring true and will come to pass for those pesky private companies. A geezer who is heading up the leave EU campaign said something like: what Lord Rose, (who thinks we should stay in) doesn't understand is that when a business finds itself in an unfavourable arrangement, should get out and look for another favourable arrangement! Interserve et al may be those very businesses, and like A4E might just jump ship!

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  17. Email from Greater London Napo Branch Chair to all Branch members: -

    " Statement from the Chair

    Timed : - 14:43 Today

    TO: NAPO MEMBERS

    It has been brought to my attention, by the moderator of our Facebook page, that questions are being asked in relation to my recent application to become a National Representative.


    It is true that, with the support and encouragement of fellow branch officers, I responded to the invitation issued in the summer to all members by Chris Winters, National Co-Chair, and Dean Rogers, Assistant General Secretary to become a member of the National Representative Panel and submitted my application.


    I was short listed and invited for interview. The interview panel consisted of the Assistant General Secretary, one of the National Co-Chairs, an existing member of the National Representative Panel and two members of the staff at Chivalry Road.


    I was advised last week that I was not being invited to join the panel.


    I shall continue advising, supporting and representing members of this branch, as I have been doing for the past four years, until the end of my term of office.

    Pat Waterman
    Branch Chair "

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    Replies
    1. Not quite as serious - yet - as the whole branch being treated as 'ultra vires' as happened to the former London Branch in the 1970s but serious enough.

      I could only find one reference to the Ultra Vires issue in the Probation Journal - maybe others can recollect and remind the current readership of the blog of how a Union can become supremely divided or even provide links to writings that explain although what is more important now is something that explains the current situation that has lead to Pat waterman's email.

      I have scanned that old article & it can be read via my Facebook page, for non members who do not have direct access to the journal.

      https://www.facebook.com/AndrewSHattonPublicMiscellany/posts/783772961745219

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  18. This blog has rather degenerated into a tedious Union bureaucracy message board. Some more writing about probation work please. (I'm not surprised nobody wants to go the NAPO conference, life is too short)

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    Replies
    1. Ignore the minutiae, but get to AGM, its obviously going to be epic:

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  19. If the union can't even get 5% attendance to its conference what does that say about how members are feeling about their union. I thought long and hard about going having felt defeated by this government and let down over so many issues by NAPO. What people seem to forget is that we the members are the union and if the majority of members are unhappy with the way the GS is leading our union then members should write to their NEC rep and to the chairs. I heard the GS is now apportioning blame on the NEC for leaking information on closed matters on social media without any evidence and is even suggesting the NEC is not fit to run and I hear this allegation is been offered as an attempt to close down NEC business in November. The GS and assistant are running their own show and have become egocentric dictators working against the order of the union.

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  20. ignoring quoracy tells us that the rest is not a surprise there is the reps deselection unrest look at pat watermans statement from face book above.
    You can just tell its sort of politically correct but boiling in rage and humiliation from the side that supposed to look beyond the small issues and see the bigger picture. I am sure PW is a capable public force . She has done well and some total prejudicial rubbish but she is our Napo campaigner not anyone elses. There should have been a recognition of her achievements. She saved London is some ways from the infight with the last fool here as chair. I think the reps issue is the stalking horse here for the top table. I do not think the panel will have had all the right experience to select the right candidates. In the world of really working in the field these days and having to confront the NPS daily like some of us are doing believe me you need a force like PW not a mousy weak soft voice big stick rubbish. It is clear to many she would have been a skilled rep in time no doubt but I reckon PW felt the boot of a political decision.

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  21. In the latest Napo News, Pat Waterman asks, in promoting a London Branch motion at this years AGM – to affiliate Napo to Trade Union Friends of Israel – 'Who wouldn't want peace in the Middle East?' All the evidence of the past seventy years indicates that Israel doesn’t want peace. Israel wants the biblical Judea and Samaria – the West Bank which it conquered in 1967 – to be part of Greater Israel. This is why it has continued to build illegal settlements in defiance of international law, in the West Bank. There has been no peace process since Oslo in 1994 and that ended in tatters when the right-wing assumed power in 2000 and they have been there since. Israel behaves like a colonial power, denying Palestinians, civil and political rights. To suggest that being a friend of Israel helps the peace process is disingenuous. Israel cannot be trusted to act in good faith to the Palestinians – even its own Arab citizens
    are subject to systematic and structural discrimination.

    Credit to the NEC for affiliating to the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. It is the Palestinians who suffer the effects of a brutal occupation, with it's curfews, collective punishments and human rights abuses. When countries are in breach of United Nations resolutions, sanctions are usually standard, but not for Israel which is protected by the USA. In terms of international standards and law, Israel should be treated as a pariah state and what it needs is international pressure to change and comply with UN resolutions. Friendship merely colludes and helps to sustain a unjust status quo.

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    1. TUC position is to support Palestine . I saw the motion previously when the AGM had to endure rounds of comment and the same repetitive abuse shouting and decrying everything. The movers were so off the real message. I wouldn't go near them or their motion. I hope quoracy dispute see that binned and the members don't have to see what happened before. Awful debate if quorate move to next business as its a repeat. Focus Napo time on how to save JOBS

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    2. The motion is not about whether to support Palestine or Israel and it should not be hijacked by those seeking to do so.

      TUFI as a non government organisation and does not represent the state of Israel or indeed Palestine as it is a trade union organisation that has a growing reputation for building bridges between workers in Israel and Palestine and indeed internationally with other trade unions in a spirit of friendship and solidarity. Other justice unions have already affiliated to TUFI once they have properly understood what it is they stand for.

      Pat Waterman has explained her position in an excellent article published in Napo News.

      Napo is affiliated to the PSC although I cannot remember having the opportunity to vote for or against afiliation.

      I think it is right that Napo as a trade union should be supporting efforts to build bridges between trade unionists and those in the region who are working towards constructive solutions - isn't that what trade unionists do?

      So in answer to the question Who wouldn't want peace in the middle east? I think that most trade unionists would agree that they would and that they would also like to see both Israeli and Palestinian workers enjoying lasting peace and prosperity by working with and alongside each other for their mutual benefit.

      A vote for this motion supports an organisation dedicated to supporting ordinary working people in both Palestine and Israel to get to know each other better, befriend each other, and work together for a better future.

      That is surely something worth supporting.

      http://naponewsonline.org/2015/10/01/who-wouldnt-want-peace-in-the-middle-east/

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    3. Blah blah NAPO is local small union grow up concentrate on issues we actually have a real chance of making a difference to the interests of fee paying members. We do not have an international mandate we are a small union not the UN.

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  22. You got to admit this GS is bossing you lot. He has possibly taken the union to its lowest point with the 5% turnout and he is appearing to crush anyone who is opposing him. He's a true leader

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  23. Jim the people want NAPO discussion. 45 comments on this topic compared to previous poor turnouts on other topics. Give the people what they want. That is fair debate on NAPO

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    1. Napo Fair ? Wont follow the rules by the Officers proper ? GS agrees 100%. Blaming membership and agreeing away our lives in that appalling agreement document ? Fair.

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  24. 8 10 - I counted 31 comments on NAPO, incl yours , with 15 comments by Andrew, against Andrew or in favour of Andrew, with one comment expressly saying the comments on NAPO are boring. So 33% of comments NOT about NAPO sounds a substantial vote for other topics.

    This blog promotes free speech, with the exception of snarling abusive comments such as those aimed at Andrew. There is plenty of space on the page for all of us- so skip what bores you, and don't be so personally cutting and intolerant. You give the respected image of the probation service a bad name and give a sad view of the future.

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