Napo AGM 2021: Union placed on war footing against pay freeze

Photo: Paul Mattsson

Photo: Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Adam Harmsworth, Napo NEC member (personal capacity)

“Should this engagement with the employer not result in an improved offer, formal notice of a trade dispute should be lodged and members balloted on industrial action, including strike action and action short of strike action.”

These are the last words in a bold emergency motion on pay which passed nearly unanimously at the annual general meeting on 14-16 October of Napo, the union that represents probation staff.

It followed three other motions mentioning industrial action which all passed.

Napo’s leaders are buoyant after the indicative ballot result – 99% rejecting the pay freeze. It was Napo’s national chair Katie Lomas who proposed this motion, and beforehand general secretary Ian Lawrence expressed great confidence in beating the Trade Union Act’s requirements after the ballot turnout.

In the last issue of the Socialist I said “probation workers are drawing a line”. Now they have. The popular motions at AGM focused on pay, workloads, and conditions. Speeches were filled with anger at the decade of destruction of probation and family court services.

Assuming no improved pay offer will come from HM Prison and Probation Service, Napo must throw its full weight behind supporting industrial action to break the pay freeze. A cross-union campaign to build for strike action is crucial to showing this government can be beaten by the collective action of the working class.