Friday, 27 January 2017

Napo Split

Further to Wednesday's blog post 'Latest From Napo 135', news reaches me of dissent amongst the top table:-

‘Minority’ Report – stand firm, appeasement will invite aggression!

At the Annual General Meeting in 2016 members voted overwhelmingly to campaign to defend national collective bargaining across probation. This was a clear message to the Officers and General Secretary to:

  • Cease any discussions then taking place to establish separate negotiating structures
  • To launch a campaign amongst members in support of the collective negotiation structure
It was predicted at the time that the NPS would soon give notice to withdraw from the National Negotiating Council (NNC). As you will be aware this was done before Christmas. One by one the CRC employers have followed suit since!

How should Napo respond?

Napo has always been a member led union and in order to test the strength of resolve to fight it was agreed to hold an indicative ballot. Whilst turnout wasn’t as high as some might have hoped, it was significant and emphatic:
  • almost 4 in 5 who participated said they would be prepared to take strike action to defend national collective bargaining, and
  • a staggering 9 out of 10 said they would vote for action short of a strike!
These results provide the union with significant leverage to seek to have the employers return to the national negotiating table. Rather than roll over and co-operate in the race to the bottom we believe there is another way.
  • Rally the members
  • Recruit more members
  • Show the employers we mean business by entering into dispute
Now is the time to stand firm

We have written this ‘minority report’ to counter the official bulletin sent out by Napo HQ which attaches our names to it and puts an unprincipled gloss over what was a contentious decision to go into local negotiations. There are seven people holding officers roles, two of whom are the Co-Chairs. When the decision about the next steps was finally taken two of us voted to continue to pursue a campaign opposing the demise of national collective bargaining.

You can now provide the bedrock to safeguard our terms and conditions for the future.

Insist our union opposes the race to the bottom:
  • Send messages opposing the appeasement strategy to the Chairs and
  • Produce a branch motion censuring the decision to enter local negotiations. 
Now is the time to let your union leaders, and employers, know that we’ve had enough and we aren’t going to take anymore!!

Chas Berry, National Vice Chair (Probation)
Chris Pearson, National Vice Chair (Finance)


  1. At last, a spirited response, without an unprincipled gloss. A split in Napo. Reminds me of a Leonard Cohen line, There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in'.

    It's an odd state of affairs when an AGM resolution needs to be restored from Napo's recycle bin. It should not be so easy in the first instance for officers and officials to overturn a member-led resolution which was passed in opposition to what the leadership wanted. At the very least abandoning the AGM resolution should not have been presented as a fait accompli, but as a proposal for consultation, on the assumption that 'member-led' is not a meaningless slogan. Now the two dissenters have to seek to reverse a perverse decision that was imposed.

    The decision to acquiesce and appease the employers is the wrong one. It is worth fighting for the national codes of service. The 2014 staff transfer agreement shows that the employers cannot be trusted so the appeasers are deluding themselves if they believe they can negotiate, again, from weakness. Let Napo members at least have an opportunity to reject the race to the bottom mentality of the employers. It is time to fight back.

    1. It's worth also saying we want agreements that are meaningful and that will be honoured not walked away from (Transfer Agreement only signed Jan 2014!)If they can't honour these undertakings(supposedly endorsed by MOJ) how can anything employers say they "offer"us be viewed as credible? If nothing else we need penalty clauses for next time they try and sidle away from their assurances.

      27 January 2017 at 23:48

  2. Brave whistle blowers should be acknowledged for their principled action here. This confirms the. 'no confidence ' feeling in Ian Lawrence and the ineffective, silent, collusive Chairs. New management for NAPO please. Time for a campaign Jim

    1. They should now publish all the figures. This could hardly be called whistle blowing as the authors are either withholding information because they agree with Lawrence (don't trust the membership) or they do not have the full facts and are bluffing. Pearson saw a win win situation here in his bid to replace Lawrence by pretending to support Berry in a principled crusade against the end of national negotiations in apparent defense of collective bargaining knowing full well this will fail but unlike Berry he will gain credit from this for appearing to fight to both support trade union principles and appearing to support the left wing of Napo. It's a smart move well played. Someone explain this to Chas that he is being played.

  3. From an earlier post:

    "Job Description
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    Grade: Band C – HEO

    Salary: £29,790 - £37,061

    Post Type: Permanent
    The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has embarked on an ambitious, high-profile programme of reform and we have a number of fantastic opportunities in our External Communications team for talented, hard-working communications professionals.

    Our department is never far from the headlines and you will be joining a busy and friendly team to take responsibility for shaping stories and influencing them in print, broadcast and online news outlets.

    This includes reforming prisons, probation and youth justice to improve public safety and reduce re-offending, and undertaking the biggest programme of courts reform anywhere in the world to renew public confidence in the justice system and better protect the vulnerable.

    We need confident and dynamic individuals in roles across the office who will thrive on being at the forefront of the Justice Secretary’s key priorities, whether that’s briefing media to create the headlines or fire-fighting the occasional crisis story.

    You would also contribute to our out-of-hours media service, for which overtime is paid.
    It’s an exciting time to be part of the Ministry of Justice. If you have the skills to excel in a busy, fast-paced environment, this is the role for you."

    1. Key phrase for me = "joining a busy and friendly team to take responsibility for shaping stories and influencing them in print, broadcast and online news outlets."

      AKA spin doctor.

  4. Fighting talk from two principled people but this is very much a case of trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    Local collective bargaining is the way to go now as no one will get the NPS and the CRCs back to the table.

    Napo simply hasn't got the membership density to make these kinds of demands.

    The national negotiating machinery no longer exists. Unison have walked away. GMB have no objection to local collective bargaining. Employers have not said they want to end collective bargaining they just want to do it locally.

    What is feared are regional pay deals where probation staff in London and the South East where they struggle to recruit and retain staff due to the cost of living are likely to be paid more and enjoy increased benefits under local collective bargaining agreements whereas those in other regions where there is a surplus of staff and the cost of living is lower may well not get increases and increased benefits.

    No Napo member working in the CRC in London and the South East in their right mind should support a campaign to support bringing back national collective bargaining. With the demise of national collective bargaining staff in areas where there is a high cost of living and whose pay has been frozen can now look forward to increased pay and improved benefits.

    Chas Berry split the vote enabling the ineffective chairs to be reelected and now he is splitting Napo over a campaign he and his supporters cannot win and will achieve nothing other than to force Napo into talks with PCS in whose offices they are currently residing with a view to being assimilated. The cash from the sale of Chivalry Road is no doubt earmarked for Ian and Co redundancy payments.

    1. How dare you try to pit us off against one another with your snide London tactic. Emergency motion emergency motion that if we do have local negotiations that branches should elect negotiations it shouldn't simply be left to the chair of London who may get additional priviliges for sucking up to management.

    2. When I was shop steward for my union pre probation I was offered a pay rise and full facility time for my term of office if I encouraged members to vote for a new contract which saw them lose hard-fought terms and conditions. I am worried about local negotiations on matters such as pay etc. Not casting expersuons on current chairs etc. but we do need a frame work to make sure negotiators are both part of branch hierarchy and membership in rhetoric field a mix mash so no dodgy deals behind closed doors and accountability is open and clear.

    3. I have some sympathy with this view although staff protections document is an agreement that has to be challenged legally as a breach.

      Berry is a fool and has no idea. He is a bit like a Farage character all over the place clumsy and ineffective but got the brexit mess by accident .

      Berry much the same and has helped ruin napo when he colluded to split the vote, denied it then happy to see the two incompetents back. Them he gets side-lined in betrayal that's as Machiavellian as it comes. Out of office in a few short months they wont blink or recall his useless input. Having been party to wrecking napos chances last year. He wont need a symbolic miner lamp just an Led torch and a few batteries that will become as dim as him eventually. They all get the management vote though for making it so easy for them call them activists I have seen a more lively dead horse. Top table what a shower all NPS all capitulators.

    4. Agree with 2016 what we need now is strong local negotiators and a separate national team to tackle the NPS Those of us in the NPS feel badly let down by the unions

    5. Nice so do all CRC staff getting the sack NPS let down don't make us laugh NPS is the whole top table selfish group.

  5. 'No Napo member working in the CRC in London and the South East in their right mind should support a campaign to support bringing back national collective bargaining. With the demise of national collective bargaining staff in areas where there is a high cost of living and whose pay has been frozen can now look forward to increased pay and improved benefits.' This is the reality 20:33 If you decide to persist with a delusion that Napo members will rise up, fight the employers for control of both private companies, mutual and public sector and impose their will on the majority of non-union members, then that is a matter for you and your imaginary friends.

    1. You must understand me. I do not trust one person to negotiate my pay, terms and conditions. I want as many democratically elected people of honour to negotiate. Also if you think I have imaginary friends maybe you do too. I am from London and do not trust MTCnovo one inch. Maybe your friends aren't imaginary maybe they are Helga and Co and maybe you are a person in London of influence. Your style of writing betrays you.

    2. So how many people do you think were involved in the NNC? How many pay rises have they achieved? How many CRC jobs have they saved? How many employers have listened to anything they have said? Employers have walked away because the NNC was a waste of time. Even Napos own negotiating committee and the Napo reps that attended it thought it was a waste of time. UNISON thought it was not worth attending. In fact the only people who seem to see any worth in trying to revive it are those who have had least to do with it.

    3. Surely they've walked away because they don't want consensus(or to be tasked with working towards that) but differential outcomes. A meeting between about 9 different employers must be some headache. However different outcomes via separate negotiating committees will suit employers more than staff.

    4. Apparently they weren't bothering to turn up. They don't want to be in the same room. They are allowed to leave and if they want to they can also derecognise unions. Negotiating locally is they only option. The NNC is history. We need to deal with how things are. By breaking up the NNC by mutual consent employers side they are not doing anything wrong.
      The NNC has always favoured the employers not the unions. The point is the employers are not bound to cooperate with what Napo wants. Napo can't even convince the other recognised unions of the NNCs worth.

  6. Popped on here for a read and it looks like Chas Berry has really split and damaged the napo membership again. How does he do it ? Im off to read about Trump he is less controversial.

    1. The AGM motion was a short sighted own goal as Chas & Alex knew it would be at that time. The NNC was a lost cause but thought they could get Napo members stirred up over a perceived loss of collective bargaining although even this was misleading. It is as well to read what Napos negotiating committee had to say in their paper presented to those attending the AGM. It is readily apparent they had given up on the NNC as a lost cause months before the AGM. They assumed Chas would wake up and smell the coffee but as usual he refused to accept the reality of what was actually happening and spoke passionately about fighting for something that he knew could not be achieved. Unfortunately he has been valiantly fighting for lost causes for some time and Napo is just the latest vehicle. Unfortunately Napo members only got to vote on a pointless motion that was effectively a non runner - the punters were told it was a safe bet. They were not told that the NNC had already ceased to function (they didn't even book a room to meet in!!)and its days as a viable negotiating forum had ended and no one doubted it would soon no longer exist.

    2. The negotiating committee have you seen the group. Half retired useless to start mostly from NPS all central and one or two top table fan club. Scarcely an able or objective one among them bar a couple and yet they could not negotiate a corner on the pavement. Look at the results VLOs Pay Hostels the 3Es and the latest disagreed sickness abuse policy. Great team great results great leadership following to the drain no questions asked.

    3. Exactly 22:53 the very people Chas wants to continue negotiations on our behalf. They don't even think the NNC was any good and yet they were part of its faulty machinery. Better off without them (something we can all agree on?)and for local elected reps to drive the changes in the interests of their members with help and advice from paid officials when required. Maybe when we start actually getting some results then the membership will start to grow and we will have more clout.

    4. To 22:34 if this description you give of AGM debate is accurate there must have been appallingly weak opposing material presented in the debate for the motion to have been won by Chas.

    5. It was the weakest opposition to any motion I ever seen. Barely audible, incoherent, garbled. A major fail by the elected top table to deal with what has become a major problem ultimately now threatening Napos very existence.