Monday, 5 December 2016

CRC Dispute Latest 15

2nd December 2016


Union representatives meet in Bristol today to review the latest position in respect of the dispute between Napo, UNISON, GMB and Aurelius/Working Links.

The position so far

Since the interim directive from the NNC Joint Secretaries that the parties should invite the Arbitration, Conciliation and Advisory Service (ACAS) to facilitate ongoing dialogue, there have been a series of meetings in London and Bristol, one of which has included a claimed representative from Aurelius, the German based company who are the owners of Working Links.

The nature of the discussions held under the auspices of ACAS are necessarily confidential and this has prevented us from issuing detailed updates as quickly as we would like. The position that we have reached is that at the time of writing the trade unions are awaiting a substantive response to correspondence which has been sent to the employers side via ACAS. Our expectation is that we would receive a reply to a comprehensive letter that we issued on the 13th November and a number of key issues that we have raised immediately following the last joint exchanges which took place at the ACAS offices in Bristol.

The unions have informed the ACAS Conciliators that we are prepared to continue to meet to take part in an urgent review of the operational model, but that we have reached a critical stage in the proceedings and need to see signs that the employers side are taking our concerns seriously.

While we consider what may be left of value at the ACAS table we wanted to take this opportunity to say how hard your team of local reps have worked to further your interests during the unions campaign to save jobs, secure information for the purposes of collective bargaining and call the proposed operational model that Aurelius/Working Links are seeking to impose across their three CRC's to account.

The next steps

Irrespective of developments through ACAS (whose efforts are very much appreciated by the unions), we have told the NNC Joint Secretaries that we want the parties to be called in to report back on the current situation, and that we feel that a representative from NOMS Contract and Commercial Directorate should also be available given what we have discovered over the period of the dispute.

We are also seeking a legal view about some of the options open to us in the event that dialogue through ACAS fails to produce a breakthrough.

The unions also believe that we need to meet with our members as soon as we practicably can to hear what you have to say, and plans are being made to set up consultative meetings, so please look out for further details.

What you can do

There are a number of things that employees working in the 3 Aurelius/Working Links CRC's can do. Firstly if you are not a member of a trade union, then please join one! A legally recognised trade union is the only means by which your employment rights can be protected within the collective agreements that are enshrined as part of your terms and conditions.

Secondly, you can provide your union reps with feedback about the impact of the operational model on you as an individual, or as a team. All information which should be sent from your private address or e mail and will be treated in confidence.

You can also ensure that your line manager is aware of any difficulties or health issues that you may be facing as a result of excessive caseloads or a working environment that you believe is unsafe. Please keep a record of such exchanges.

Depending on developments either side of this weekend, it is likely that we will know fairly soon if the ACAS talks are to continue, and the unions will be issuing more news just as soon as we can.

Meanwhile our appreciation to all our members for your continuing support at this difficult time.

General Secretary Napo
GLYN JONES Regional Organiser UNISON


  1. "Meanwhile our appreciation to all our members for your continuing support at this difficult time."

    Ian (for these are your words I don't doubt), this is not about
    YOU. Once again you've got it arse-about-face. Its about the balls-out efforts of the local reps who have their local members' trust; its about the rights, welfare terms & conditions of those members; its about the union finally delivering what it should have delivered already, i.e. support for its members. This is more than a year too late for many members. Now, thanks primarily to the Herculean efforts of local activists, ACAS are involved & one CRC owner is being put in the spotlight. Don't let your overblown sense of self fuck this one up as well.

    1. Are you suggesting IL had to be dragged to ACAS?

    2. Without the local efforts of union reps, their persistence (despite HQ) & thus the continued confidence of members, this would have been a carbon-copy of the Sodexo debacle, i.e. loss of confidence in do-nothing Napo led to signifcant numbers either resigning or giving up hope, Sodexo easily achieved their VolSev numbers & EVR was side-stepped. So yes, I am suggesting that Napo HQ & IL were effectively dragged to ACAS handcuffed to the bumper of the SW reps' Mean Machine.

    3. It's not surprising that national Napo are slow to support branches in dispute. This tendency of leaderships to sideline themselves was well portrayed in the film Made in Dagenham. Napo calls all the time for staff to join the union, to show solidarity and to strengthen collective bargaining. Yet when local troubles arise, they become standoffish and they don't seem to like spending money on legal advice – unless one of their elite gang is in trouble...then it's an open chequebook.

  2. Let's all take note of all this. One day it will be our turn. Then all this info could make all the difference

    1. One day it will be our turn? Maybe not!

  3. We're told no one knows the day or the hour, not even the sun

    1. I thought the date had already been set... 20 Jan 2017.

    2. "Ho, ho, ho" (I'm fairly certain we can still use this phrase to indicate laughter, can't we?)

  4. These powerhouse corporations prove unions are over. Save your monthly direct debit as they won't help you.

    1. Disagree. Ebb an flow of power natural. If anything lesson of recent political ebb and flow is that ignoring working people's concerns is not a wise move. The Union voice admittedly struggling to be heard at present will resonate soon enough. More likely if working people support a Union to support their interests. NAPO to my mind has been in troubled waters not because of its own making, it does need to adapt and be clear about its reason for being. Investing heavily in local representation seems to be one way it can make progress in fragmented Probation Services.

  5. Senior managers in these Powerhouse corporations do not want a unionised workforce it's much easier to introduce all sorts of practices which do not protect employees. Union membership is like house insurance. Hopefully you may never need it, but you'll be glad of it if you do I was!

  6. Grayling & Jezza Wright continue their efforts to wreck the public sector & isolate UK plc. Grayling is now determined to repeat his TR disaster with the raikways, whilst Jezza the Attourney General continues to tell the judiciary they are wrong & stoopid. Its starting to become clear that along with BoJo, Hunt, David Davies & May the UK Cabinet are the deconstruction of the arrogant, bigoted, ignorant singularity that is Trump.