Following yesterday’s statement by the Prime Minister that the Government are to honour the recommendations from the Independent Pay Review Bodies (IPRB) across a number of sectors, which will see an average increase of 6.5% for Police, NHS Workers, Junior Doctors, Prison Officers, Members of the Armed Forces and Teachers. Napo members across all the employers where we are represented, have already been contacting us to ask if this means better news for them.
The announcement by Rishi Sunak follows weeks of speculation that the Government were to renege on the PBR recommendations and risk a further escalation of the industrial unrest that has been taking place this year. Whilst the Prime Minister’s “take it or leave it” message will go down well with his fast-diminishing number of supporters, it may serve to harden attitudes elsewhere, especially among those trade unions who have been imploring the Government to negotiate in advance of the PBR reports in an attempt to avoid strike action.
Essentially, there are two ways of looking at the situation; one is that it represents a “fair” offer within the current economic climate. The other is that it’s a clear demonstration of panic by the Government , whose strategy to wait out the wave of current industrial action and rely on public disgust has spectacularly failed, just months before a likely general election which may come as early as the Autumn.
That £1500 award
This may also partly explain the rationale behind the £1500 pay award that was announced last month for workers falling within the Civil Service Pay Remit. As we have stated before, this was done without so much as an advance notification to the trade unions. The failure to do so meant that we were unable to influence the way in which this was to be paid and point out the negative impact that this so called “performance bonus” has caused for those members with families who rely on Universal Credit or other benefits to make ends meet. Many members have understandably been in touch to report that you will actually be in a worse financial position than before (so much for a listening Tory government). For those members not in that situation, this may bring some comfort, but the view of Napo’s leadership group is that this should be seen for the cynical ploy that it actually is, and that it won’t win as many friends as the government hopes.
So what’s happening on pay for our members?
In Probation we are in year two of a multi-year pay award, but in view of the dreadful economic situation the joint trade unions have submitted a fresh pay claim of 12% and for an award of at least £2500. Some may think this is unrealistic, but the official inflation figures don’t lie. Moreover, the average award for the majority of Probation Staff in year two of the above deal is around 4% . We have now been invited to a meeting with senior management as promised following the outcome of the IPRB reports and we will bring you news of their response as soon as we can. It would be unfair to raise members expectations, but be sure we will be engaging in these discussions in determined mood.
Our members in the Probation Board Northern Ireland are not covered by the pay arrangements above. Meanwhile, they eagerly await decisions on the negotiated business case for a Pay Modernisation Package, but the developments on public sector pay this side of the water will no doubt be viewed with interest in terms of how a separate pay claim should be constructed alongside our sister union Nipsa. More information on the above will be issued directly by your Napo NI Branch once it is available.
In CAFCASS we are engaging in talks on the joint union pay claim that is broadly similar to the one we have submitted in Probation, but senior management await a formal response from the Treasury and likewise, your union will be referencing the above developments as evidence that an imaginative approach needs to follow on pay which is well behind that in the social work sector across the UK. CAFCASS members should look out for the joint Napo/UNISON meeting taking place next Tuesday.
The above illustrates your unions efforts to campaign for decent pay for all of our members, and in the current climate it’s as good a time as any to approach colleagues who are not a member of a trade union and urge them to join in the struggle to see our members treated with respect and dignity by their employer and this government .