Thank you once again for posting my responses and thoughts during this campaign and also finding my video via facebook. I realise not everyone will be supportive of this medium for interaction and that outsiders will also be able to view everything that is written. To be honest I want those employers that Napo members work for to read these jottings as they will be clear about what will happen next if I am successfully elected as your GS and I’m pretty sure that they will be hoping that is not the case, especially those that have had to deal with me across the table previously.
They will know and understand that when I set deadlines then I am a man of my word and expect a realistic and fair deadline to be achieved. For instance I will not be fobbed off with the continued promise of “future talks on pay”, often with a carrot held on a fishing line just in front of our noses, continually keeping us from the prize but with the promise of “constructive talks shortly once we have ministerial approval”. If trade union leaders have not spotted this annual trick by employers, especially NPS, to avoid addressing the issues then we really are in trouble.
The senior leaders of any organisation are put there as a ‘buffer’, in NPS’s case they are the ‘buffer’ between you (members) and the minster in charge, and you must step out of the cosy talks mentality believing that these senior leaders are really trying their best to resolve our issues on pay, workloads etc…unfortunately you are playing right into their hands, that is their job, to make you believe they are responsible and listening to your concerns with care and compassion whilst taking their bonuses and bumper salaries annually without fluttering an eyelid.
My comments on seeking clarity with regards to financial information has been questioned, especially about being able to obtain information from Napo with regards to the General Secretary remuneration package and some have suggested that I have shown my inexperience or made an error as only a public body need to respond to such requests and that I am somehow not paying attention to detail.
I would urge those who believe this to perhaps spend a little more time reading TULCRA 1992, the legislation that applies to trade unions in the UK. If you read TULCRA you will realise that Trade Unions have statutory duties to supply financial information to members annually, explicitly with regards to remuneration packages of General Secretaries, and upon request must allow members sight of financial information. Please see extracts from TULCRA below to assist those members better in understanding;
30 Right of access to accounting records.
(1) A member of a trade union has a right to request access to any accounting records of the union which are available for inspection and relate to periods including a time when he was a member of the union.
In the case of records relating to a branch or section of the union, it is immaterial whether he was a member of that branch or section.
(2) Where such access is requested the union shall—
(a) make arrangements with the member for him to be allowed to inspect the records requested before the end of the period of twenty-eight days beginning with the day the request was made,
(b) allow him and any accountant accompanying him for the purpose to inspect the records at the time and place arranged, and
(c) secure that at the time of the inspection he is allowed to take, or is supplied with, any copies of, or of extracts from, records inspected by him which he requires.
(3) The inspection shall be at a reasonable hour and at the place where the records are normally kept, unless the parties to the arrangements agree otherwise.
(4) An “accountant” means a person who is eligible for appointment as a [F1 statutory auditor under Part 42 of the Companies Act 2006].
(5) The union need not allow the member to be accompanied by an accountant if the accountant fails to enter into such agreement as the union may reasonably require for protecting the confidentiality of the records.
32 A Statement to members following annual return.
(1) A trade union shall take all reasonable steps to secure that, not later than the end of the period of eight weeks beginning with the day on which the annual return of the union is sent to the Certification Officer, all the members of the union are provided with the statement required by this section by any of the methods allowed by subsection (2).
(2) Those methods are—
(a) the sending of individual copies of the statement to members; or
(b) any other means (whether by including the statement in a publication of the union or otherwise) which it is the practice of the union to use when information of general interest to all its members needs to be provided to them.
(3) The statement required by this section shall specify—
(a) the total income and expenditure of the trade union for the period to which the return relates,
(b) how much of the income of the union for that period consisted of payments in respect of membership,
(c) the total income and expenditure for that period of any political fund of the union, and
(d) the salary paid to and other benefits provided to or in respect of—
(i) each member of the executive,
(ii) the president, and
(iii) the general secretary,
by the trade union during that period.
In respect of specific questions with regards to my qualifications as a trade union rep I have completed stage 1 TUC representative, Stage 2 TUC representative ”stepping up”, POA Branch Official Training (TUC accredited), TUC Leading change, first part (didn’t complete this course as instead of going to Boston in the USA October/November 2016 I was in urgent talks with the Secretary of State and HMPPS hierarchy over health and safety in Prisons which resulted in industrial action).
Qualifications are important as is continued education but working in the role is where the true experience sets in. I have obviously not previously worked for Napo and will need to learn Napo’s rules and constitution inside out as I have learnt the rules of my previous trade union inside out. Using the policies that are specific to the individual organisation based around primary legislation is the key to having a firm grip on understand and organising the functioning of the trade union, as is knowledge of relevant legislation with regards to Trade Union activities.
Whilst I have always accepted that I will need to learn more if successful in this role I am certainly not inexperienced, neither am I lacking in knowledge of the relevant legislation's and rules appertaining to Trade Unions, their legal and statutory responsibilities to members and in making returns to such bodies as the Certification Officer.