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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 October 2020

Napo AGM 2020: Celebrating probation victory and preparing for challenges ahead

Napo members' on strike, photo Paul Mattsson

Napo members' on strike, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Napo AGM delegate

Napo, the union of probation workers and Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service staff), held its first online annual general meeting (AGM), and the first since the 'reunification' of the probation service after a costly and devastating part-privatisation.

Napo members fought valiantly for the reversal of privatisation, but that victory is not the end of serious issues for probation.

The AGM began with an entirely inadequate speech from Frances O'Grady. She stated that the new Job Retention Scheme was not good enough, but would help protect jobs. This in no way justifies her photoshoot alongside Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the head of the CBI as it was unveiled!

When asked: "What can be done about a decade of pay cuts in the public sector?" she offered almost nothing concrete aside from adverts in newspapers to 'up the ante'! Much more should be expected from the leadership of a movement with the real potential to fight and win decent pay.

Submitted motions expressed concern at micromanagement, deprofessionalisation, horrendous workloads, and staffing shortages. This doesn't just come from privatisation, but also from a decade of real-terms pay and funding cuts that have impacted the whole public sector.

Unfortunately, this AGM missed a third of the motions including two titled 'Black Lives Matter'. These will now need to be discussed another time. Disagreements arose during the debate over the crucial branch restructuring put forward by the national executive committee. Many felt the NEC had not properly consulted with branches and the lay membership. Limited AGM time was taken on this avoidable issue, and then the vote was lost by 78%!

A Socialist Party member called for urgent resources for Cafcass. Years of low pay has caused high staff turnover. Last year some Band 1 staff said they could not afford Christmas presents without overtime! Workloads are high and pressure on family court advisers is unrelenting. For years, calls for decent funding from Napo and even Cafcass management have fallen on deaf Tory ears, causing increasing harm to staff and to the service of safeguarding children.

We are entering a very unstable political era, where the Tories will stretch public finances like never before.

A gigantic fightback from the trade union movement is vital. Napo's work must involve working in solidarity with other unions, because unity is strength, and together this movement of six million trade unionists can win.

Socialist Party members in Napo will work with all members willing to develop a socialist caucus in the union for this cause.

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In The Socialist 14 October 2020:


Coronavirus news

Locked down, hard up, fight back!

As school cases soar - is contact tracing 'near breaking point'?

Even more delay in stopping school transmission?

National Education Union must launch action now

Nottingham Covid surge caused by Tory mismanagement

Under the microscope


Students

Students not to blame for unsafe uni conditions

"It's not fair" - lockdown students demand free education

Students speak out: isolation and uncertainty reign

Building a movement to fight for free education


What we think

Unite votes to cut affiliation fee to Labour


Workplace news

Usdaw elections: the battle for a fighting union

NEU Special Conference: A fight for safety in schools is urgently needed

Napo AGM 2020: Celebrating probation victory and preparing for challenges ahead

University workers ballot for action against in-person teaching

Stop Royal Mail's profit-driven plans to force postal workers to share vans

Unison: The Socialist is backing Hugo Pierre - for a fighting socialist general secretary!


Co-ops

Are cooperatives the answer to a failing capitalist system?


Campaigns

Stop NHS meltdown

Transport for London funding crunch

Oliver Campbell - Still fighting for justice

Fighting Fund - we're off to a good start


Obituary

Obituary: Raph Parkinson 1958-2020


International news

Greek workers and socialists celebrate convictions of Golden Dawn fascists

Nigeria: Mass protests force government to disband killer cop unit


Readers' opinion

Non-fiction: This Land - the story of a movement

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

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triangleNapo kickstarts fight against pay freeze

triangleWorkers celebrate renationalisation

triangleKnife crime - a product of capitalist misery

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triangleProbation Service: 'angry, frustrated' staff need fighting lead

triangleRenationalisation of the probation service

triangleProbation hostel rest room win

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triangleCladding safety: Protests took place around the country on 5 June highlighting the cladding crisis

Privatisation:

triangleGreat British Railways shake-up offers no end to profiteering

triangleHaringey: Hands off our GP practices

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