Many of you will have read yesterdays Working Links the companies Justice News Extra dated 29 Sept. I have received many concerns from members on this and expressions of anger confusion and disappointments. This attack on both the nationally agreed Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy agreement and your pensions. This is protected through the Staff transfer and protection agreement and is for the life of the contract with Working links the Company and now, obviously, the new owners Aurelius.
The NNC/SCCOG Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement, the Staff Transfer Scheme, and the Services Agreement between the CRC owners and the MOJ provide for any redundancies which arise during the lifetime of the CRC contract in connection with Transforming Rehabilitation are to be dealt with under the terms of the agreed NNC/SCCOG enhanced redundancy scheme.Of concern to NAPO is Aurelius, who becomes the current employer since Aurelius took control of helm recently. This latest blow to staff is a clear attack on your terms and conditions sanctioned by Aurelius, and they are going to be called to underwrite any legal claims and challenges that will no doubt be on the minds of many members facing the current “Hobson’s Choice”. Keep in mind however the offer they have put out has NOT been consulted on and in fact has only been mentioned in meetings that the General Secretary has made reference. Also that this is offer for leaving your employment is a voluntary matter.
The current release of the Working Links the company briefing is no doubt set to coincide with the NAPO AGM and while I am not there in Cardiff we wish our delegates and activists well in this most difficult of times.
Someone has to cover the Fort for this sort of eventuality and so this rapid response is to keep the record straight and ensure concerned members are well informed and that we are aware of the situation.
The variation on the usual meaning of Voluntary early retirement is something that the Working Links the company have cynically examined and stripped back to an offer that you as staff are entitled to take at any time over 55 years anyway and who would? The consequence to this would mean that you lose immediately 25% of your long earned lump sum. Also massive percentage reductions to your actual annual pension. This is individually calculated based on your service age and contributions in the scheme. Before making any further considerations to this appalling position from Aurelius or fronted by Working Links the Company you SHOULD CONTACT THE PENSION FUND and get up to date accurate advice on the figures and what this means to your pension.
I doubt very much anyone will be looking seriously at the derisory offer and unreasonably unfair attempt to vary your entitlements. I cannot say this is news to us in NAPO we made branch correspondence on this as far back as May 2016 which included the General Secretary. The Working Links the Company plans then went silent on this matter for over 5 months as we pointed out the failings gently in branch correspondence which of course received no reply. It was made clear they would be operating two different and unfair exit routes to the Admin staff at the same time. One being massively detrimental and automatically unfair by their own privy selection process that we have no access to verify. Also that the situation to allowing early retirements was a welcome additional way of avoiding Compulsory redundancies, their attempt to weaken the rates was not!
This issue should as we have said already been managed in discussions by way short-sides. Members, they never took the offer. I will circulate that letter with this interim update. It is dated May
In the next report we will cover a pensions and allowances EVR ER VR CR and try and make some sense of the situations for you. Also I will be arranging to organise at some branch meetings the inclusion of a guest employment solicitor for members to get some direct legal services. I will have to clear things with the GS first. I encourage members to attend branch meetings and take advantage of all the additional support for your fears anxieties and concerns caused by this latest attack on voluntary terms, whilst, we continue in DISPUTE with Aurelius and the Working Links the Company for the continued failures to negotiate properly meaningfully and in many views honestly. We have yet to see what they really intend for compulsory measures that are already in dispute.
The question of Aurelius decision making has now to be looked into as the General Secretary Ian Lawrence is calling for a meeting with them as soon as practicable. We hope to clarify the chains of command and most importantly establish liabilities for the debts and recoveries should staff face any more of the worst treatment from this group of employers.
In the meantime all regional JNCC remain off while the dispute continues. We are scheduled to meet on the 4th as a region of JNCC reps and management along with the General Secretary. I do not think this will get anywhere as the following day 5th there will be the Joint Secretaries dispute meeting. Once we know the details and who is on the team I will keep you informed.
Finally members and non-members join NAPO now while we have some window to look to protect you. I have welcomed back so many members recently it is good news. There is much yet to be done and being in NAPO we will help protect you as action from the staff side may become necessary to defend your working and earned rights.
Join NAPO now!
Dino Peros South South West NAPO Branch Chair JNCC Rep.
19th May 2016
Our lively exchanges yesterday my apologies up front, it is a difficult process at times. On reflection of your own 30+ years’ experience and the issue of trust, this process and the people within it will have felt upset. I can assure you it has not always been our experience although I admit infuriating management and unions alike is not uncommon in this role.
I wont do the anecdotes and to say I do not find it easy either. We have never faced staff facing forced reductions and role diversions in such dramatic ways although, we have had the miserable experience of battling a pathetic yet real redundancies plan that failed driven by some of your current senior managers. None had the wit or skill you appear to have or with so much reserve.
This letter is to acknowledge positively and formally, your announced reasoning behind offering early retirement across the board of all staff who are 55 and who may well retire while bearing the reduction on pension value within their choice. This being a voluntary matter is beyond the scope of union intervention. I appreciate it may not be attractive to many but nonetheless it is a clear indication to Napo at least that you and your colleagues are looking to explore all the options and support processes to reduce the impact of the potential compulsory issues and the complexities this will generate. Trying to avoid the potential for disputes across a number of staff and location is something we actually share. However, some unforeseen issues might have been better understood had these been explored with unions in the first place. So we welcome the potential for more short sides.
In light of the potentials you are exploring you may well appreciate there are a number of discussions we could have that could work to supporting a range of staff exit by agreement and from which you might want to share within your senior authority colleagues that may well cross comfortably to the wider region. Although, this is not my immediate area of responsibility.
For the moment I draw your attention to your own governance handbook for the CRC pages 59 through to 63 and ask you to consider the potentials here and at some point we look to explore how flexibly we might agree some arrangements while respecting the MOJ conditions. We are open to looking to accommodate a range of potential solutions for staff in a voluntary way of course. Nothing in this alters the current express terms contained with our members terms and yet we have some possible assisted routes to help reduce the burden of compulsory if you think you might at the least have that wider scope conversation.
In the hear and now though we may well have two exit routes running and at the same time. The EVR for admin voluntarily and the early retirement of staff over 55 with no additional payment and voluntary. I would have thought many of the unsuccessful administrators who are now to be retained could opt for ER and potentially still exit. I realise you have thought it through but you will see the potential for the feeling of staff anger as the differential to exit are clear. Staff will be asking questions as this scenario may arise.
In any case as the Chair of the branch, we welcome all accessible routes for members of staff to retire and make their own choices as you widen opportunities for exit. It was a productive day yesterday John and thanks.
Dino Peros SSW Napo Branch Chair
cc Ian Lawrence GS
DJ HC Napo JNCC.