Thursday, 30 June 2016

Unions Register Dispute

BR 47/2016
30th June 2016

To: all Napo Members in Working Links owned CRCs
Cc: For information only
Napo Branch Chairs
Family Court SEC
NEC
Napo Officers and Officials

Dear Colleague,

Trade unions register dispute across three CRCs owned by Working Links as news of company acquisition by Aurelius breaks

Napo Members will be aware that the probation unions have been engaging in regular dialogue with senior management representing the 3 Community Rehabilitation Companies owned by Working Links: Devon Dorset and Cornwall; Bristol, Gloucester, Somerset and Wiltshire, and Wales.

Latterly, much of our discussion has been focused on the intended operating plan for the future delivery of rehabilitation services across the above areas against the intention of Working Links to make reductions of around 40% in staffing.

Members Opposition to Job cuts

Following the last Joint Union and senior management meeting in Worle on 10th June, the unions have had an opportunity to report back to their respective members. The clear message coming back is that the proposed staffing reduction tabled by Working Links is unacceptable and unjustifiable.

The attached letter records that the unions have lodged a formal dispute and have asked that the planned consultation with staff which forms part of an as yet unagreed job matching and selection process be delayed pending further urgent dialogue.

We have not as yet had a response to indicate that the company are prepared to call a halt to the planned briefings and interviews with staff. This is unfortunate, but Napo cannot instruct staff to not attend a meeting with their managers, but we can say that you should not feel compelled in any way to answer questions that you might be asked which make you feel that your individual position is at risk or which ask you to make any definite commitment.

Next steps for members

Napo and the probation unions await an invitation to discuss the specific grounds of dispute which are contained in a letter sent to senior Working Links management and we will keep members advised of developments. It can be seen that, among other things, Napo does not believe that adequate support and training has been offered to managers who are to be charged with the difficult task of commencing a selection process that could directly lead to the loss of your job.

Meanwhile, you should take the opportunity of any discussions between you and your line managers to ask that the following questions are recorded and fed through to senior Working Links management:
  • Why is Working Links intending to make such a substantial reduction in staffing? 
  • How can such a large reduction be justified when there is a need to ensure that the quality of probation services and the protection of communities are maintained? 
  • Why has there not been an agreement with the unions about the consultation process including the HR principles and the appropriate redundancy policy before consultation with staff has started? 
It will not be feasible for Napo to provide individual representation at any initial meetings that you are invited to have with your line manager, but assistance will be arranged if required in the future should members find themselves in difficulty.

Napo will do its best to keep you and your local reps posted as to developments.

Aurelius acquires Working Links

In a shock development that I understand was unknown even to a number of the senior Working Links management team, news broke last night that a German institutional investment company known as Aurelius has now acquired the operation.

As you would expect, Napo will be investigating the exact financial aspects of the purchase and the track record of this company, but on the face of it, this buy out appears to be a straight forward business acquisition. Aurelius have not signalled any changes to the senior CRC management teams and have no record in the justice sector. We have already started to make enquiries as to why there was not a period of reflection so that the Secretary of State could be satisfied that he wanted this company to be involved in the provision of the CRC contracts and we will report further if we can obtain more information on this point.

Napo’s expectation is that Aurelius are looking at opportunities to buy into work programmes potentially in Europe and or expand in the UK if and when opportunities arise.

The important question that members will have is whether this development changes the operational plans including the planned staffing reductions, and the predictable answer is that it will not make any difference.

It is also unlikely that the two gushing announcements to staff by the Working Links Chief Executive today which suggests this is ‘great news’ and an ‘exciting time’ will be received with any enthusiasm by those members in the three CRCs whose jobs are at risk.

Join Napo today!

The continuing uncertainties faced by Napo members working in the three CRCs and the volatile political and economic climate that is being generated on the back of last week’s ‘Brexit’ decision, means that membership of a trade union is more important than it has ever been.

Please encourage colleagues who have yet to become Napo members to do so today and to take advantage of reduced subscription rates that are available to all members who pay subscriptions by Direct Debit.

More news on developments within your CRC will follow as soon as possible as Napo continues to oppose and challenge the rationale for job cuts.

Yours sincerely

IAN LAWRENCE
General Secretary

--oo00oo--

JTU 10-16
John Wiseman,
(By e-mail) 

28th June 2016

Dear John,

NOTICE OF DISPUTE

The Trade Unions are writing following the last Joint Union Meeting and after now having had the opportunity to report to our members across the three Community Rehabilitation Companies owned by Working Links.

Despite the efforts to convince Working Links that the planned staffing reductions are both unsafe and unjustifiable, given the need to provide effective rehabilitation services across the areas concerned, the refusal to withdraw the current Section 188 notices and offer a fresh period for formal consultation and a refusal to call a halt to the selection process that you intend to implement, the unions hereby give formal notice of a dispute which will now be copied to the Joint Secretaries of the National Negotiating Council.

Background

The unions also need to express our serious disappointment that despite the commitment from management to convene a short side’s discussion group for the region (which is captured in the JUM minutes and re referenced at the last JUM); this has still to take place.

We are also disappointed at the failure to circulate the information pack of materials to managers across all three of the CRC’s simultaneously and in reasonable time for the unions to consider these prior to the commencement of staff briefings, despite Union Chairs requesting the papers last week.

The HR principles have yet to be agreed despite the initial progress made at earlier meetings and as they stand there is a conflation between the need to try and reach local agreement over the staff reduction programme and what appears to be the incorporation of NNC management of change principles which, in fact, is a separate process to be used in order to avoid compulsory redundancies.

In view of the foregoing we have identified the following grounds for the dispute:

1. The unions’ position is that we do not believe that a case has been made by the employer to justify any further reductions in staffing. Moreover, we are not convinced of the rationale or business case behind the intention to reduce staffing across the three CRC's by over 40%. We also believe that the use of Operational Hubs has still to be proven in terms of concept and the safety of staff and service users.

2. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we have not finally agreed a process for negotiation in terms of which legacy redundancy policy you intend to operate, or agreed the terms of the selection and mapping process which includes staff appraisals and sickness absence as key criteria. We have seen no evidence that adequate training has been provided to managers who will be expected to make critical decisions using a sifting process in this way. This means that there will not be a consistent or reasonable application of selection across the 3 CRC areas.

3. The proposed roles and job descriptions under the intended future staffing profile have not been finally agreed with the Trade Unions.

4. The proposed roles have been arbitrarily graded and have not been subject to any Job evaluation using the established NNC JE process.

5. Subject to us being able to reach agreement the roles should be advertised amongst all three CRC areas to avoid unnecessary reductions and relocations.

6. There is also an absence of assurances around mobility and future estates policy and pay protection, all of which need to be the subject of any agreement.

Clearly we have reached a critical position in terms of the working relationship that is developing between the unions, Working Links and the CRC employers. Whilst we would rather not have had to exercise the option of a dispute, which we will of course be communicating to our respective members, we believe that the above narrative provides the parties with the basis for meaningful dialogue with a view to reaching agreement.

In view of this we would ask that the planned staff briefings are postponed until further dialogue has taken place between us. We are proposing an urgent 'short sides' meeting be arranged comprising of say 4/5 representatives from the unions and an equivalent number from senior management to explore how we can move on from this impasse.

We look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely

IAN LAWRENCE           GLYN JONES             DAVID WALTON
General Secretary         Regional Organiser     National Secretary
Napo                              UNISON                     GMB/SCOOP

38 comments:

  1. Well, surprised that no one has commented on this yet! Perhaps we are all too dizzy from reeling!To be honest i left napo some years ago when i became disillusioned with it all. This however gives me a grain of optimism but perhaps all it could achieve is to slow the process down. Nice to know that my manager is already planning who will stay and who will go and what job i might be fit for if i am one of the chosen 60% who stay! Talk about team building! Opinions of colleagues from crc welcome. To re-join napo or to go it alone and fight my corner on my own?

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  2. Hmmm, lets look at the golden shareholder who will be supporting Working Links et al - Gove, a dark, dark force who has been hiding his ambition in the shadowy pit where a heart would normally sit beating.

    Once again the unions are several pages behind the plot - the asset strippers will (as predicted by a.n.other yesterday) decimate staffing costs to 'streamline the business model'.

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  3. How can the MOJ allow this to happen. It is putting the public and staff at risk due to unsafe practice. There is an expectation that we undertake home visits with little thought about possible consequences. No thought put into the offices we work out of that's if we have an office. Something terrible is going to happen.

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  4. It's interesting that this has been happening in the Sodexo 6 contract package areas for the past 12-months and we didn't get as much publicity....why?.. Is it cos we are northern???

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    Replies
    1. Your reps were just not up to it in the north!

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    2. More likely because your unions are apathetic! Do something about it!

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  5. With Gove running for Conservative leadership I hope Napo is prepared to use this to catapult probation into the media spotlight.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they need to get this out in the open!

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    2. Puh-lease! By the time the media stop focusing on the current politics, this will be very old news. You might see it in Private Eye somewhere, but it'll go no further than that.

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  6. Basically the local branches refused to agree
    Not a south/north matter. Surprised it didn't happen before. Vote for Dino Peros for Chair.

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  7. Can anyone tell me who the napo reps are for bgsw crc? Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Contact your branch chair Ceris Handley

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  8. Supposed to be at work now but sat on my bed feeling stunned and down! Need to shift my ass and put on my professional face, keep calm and carry on!

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  9. Listening to Gove on sky. Says ge wAnts increased privatisation and reduced social expenditure.wants a totally free market economy. Gove for PM. I LOVE THIS GUY

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    Replies
    1. Talked about front line services including probation. Fitsrw mention we had in years. Everyone get behind Gove

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    2. Anon 11.35 how is that good for probation increased privatisation and reduced social expenditure.

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    3. Can we really believe anything Gove says following the Brexit campaign. There again not much to choose between any of them.

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  10. Going back to Working Links and Aurelius, I thought the contracts way back when, were with NOMS selected companies and with a limited time of 10 years, (or was it 8?) I thought that would mean they were not legally able to sell it as it did not actually belong to them? I know Working Links has sold other bits of their businesses too but I thought NOMS was the overlord for the CRC bit and therefore should have to have their approval. Or is that a daft question?

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  11. No ML it is not a daft question. This has been in discussions for 6 months apparently and NOMS would have had to approve it. Aurelius are well known to be a company that buy up ' bust'cash strapped companies. Noms have agreed to this rather than admit failure and tske the crc back into government ownership. The puppet chiefs as the various crc's owned by WL have been given a script and basically gagged. That is why they come out with utter drivel about how positive this is. Well crc chiefs i look forward to seeing you eat your words when this all ends dismally. We will be further stripped by this aurelias, whoever they are. They will extract what they csn and further their goal of getting their grubby fingers into then sell us on again to the highest bidder. Napo really need to take Noms to court for breach of contract.

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  12. Chris Grayling is now Theresa Kay's campaign manager.That should be the kids of death for her.The not is certainly versatile.Not so sure about his principles though.

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    1. Sorry ,curse of auto correct.May's and kids was meant

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    2. Done it again 17.45!

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    3. Quite.Better using my tablet.

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  13. Buy and sell. Re condition and sell. Make profit. Nothing illegal going on here. Its just business

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    1. It is certainly immoral if staff are being encouraged to avoid enforcing orders and it will be illegal is staff begin to massage figures as the emergency call handlers did and g4s when they claimed money to tag people who did not exist. Public ptotection is too important to leave in the hands of people whose only interest is in profit!

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    2. You can make profit by cutting back on natural wastage. I could think of loads of people I work with who should be shown the door. Others are brilliant and will be okay. Look; this is business. Our work is a business. If you dont like business then do 3rd sector work. But if you like making bank, hitting targets, out performing the one sitting next to you, and helping people to change for thr better whilst doing all this, then probation is the job for you.

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    3. Wtf is "banking bank"? I assume you mean money? Im appauld at Whats going on. My manager has said supervision sessions for staff should last 20 mins per bod.there is no more "how are you" and loads of "why did you miss this"!!!

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  14. thanks 16 13. It's incredible, but given the delicate nature of the work of a PO/PSO etc, trying to help broken/damaged/desperate/disturbed/dangerous HUMAN BEINGS turn their lives around, and not selling shoes, bananas, fine wine or newspapers, it is not a commercial business, though NOMS clearly stands by and allows human trafficking. Clients have feelings and fears, and need to be able to offload. They are NOT a commodity 1838. But as I said in my earlier post, WL, and no doubt soon others, are treating their clients as such, in the 21C slave trade. Get rid of the weak and sell on at a profit those that can still walk.

    And 1935, may I remind you that you ARE Probation. whether you like it or not.

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    Replies
    1. ML, don't be taken in - I don't think Anon 1935 (aka Trolly McTrollface) works in probation at all. For some twisted reason he or she thinks it's funny to post on here as if they do.

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  15. slip of the tongue at 2050. I meant to say WL are treating their STAFF as such (not clients!)

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  16. I can't sleep. Im so excited about Gove running. He will save probation

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    1. Govey can't save his own campaign now! Turns out that even Tories dislike a backstabbing traitor...

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  17. Aurelius will want to see fast ROI now. Most likely WL had dragged their heels for 6 months and probably why decisions on admin EVR, operational plan etc stalled. Now with cash injection, will things start happening? Good timing for shaking things up? Holiday silly season about to start.

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    1. You on the drink? So what you saying as your post makes no sense

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    2. Struck a raw nerve?

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  18. Don't speculate like this what do you know ??

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  19. Its all gone to shit. Computers dont work, caseload high, JFDI management style,JFDI culture, meaningless targets... Im quitting monday

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  20. Agree. The IT system is a joke@!how can you have an it system where only 50% of staff can log on at one time! What do they expect the rest of us to do? Stand around scratching our arses!

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