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October 2016 | 09.10.2016
PROMOTING THE POA AND PROTECTING OUR MEMBERS
I WANT TO START THIS MONTH’S GATELODGE BY THANKING POA MEMBERS FOR THEIR MANY WARM COMMENTS OVER RECENT WEEKS.
The POA NEC are working hard to bring about positive change for our members in all sectors we represent and I want the POA to start celebrating their victories in recognising and promoting our members’ concerns.
As members will be aware, there have been some recent changes that the POA have influenced such as temporary uplifts to overtime rates within NOMS, successful employment tribunals for NHS employed members at Ashworth Hospital, commitments from the main employer to increase staffing and to enter in to collective bargaining with the POA on our pay and pensions and dialogue with private sector partners, on the identical issues of violence that they face.
There is quite clearly plenty of work still to do, so whilst we celebrate these victories we must not take our eyes of off the main objectives and continue to pursue our ultimate goals set by conference through you, our members.
On this note, several strands of work are about to begin during October with the main employer, NOMS, to see if negotiation can reach agreement to the benefit of our members. This will be no easy journey and we must as an organisation remain open and transparent with our members on any pitfalls as we pick through the finer detail on any potential agreements that will ultimately require your approval.
The POA have undertaken to look at both external and internal problems and issues, and the NEC are working together closely to ensure clear, strategic direction and guidance on the main issues become part of our everyday lives and speech. Some of these issues and problems have been longstanding and will not see a speedy turn around, but please be rest assured it is our priority and vision to make sure the message is consistent and clear for all within the organisation.
POA at party conferences
As National Chair, I have been very busy visiting individual branches, working on change within the POA and attending conferences to further the POA’s objectives, but also to forge allegiances and alliances with other organisations and trade unions. Whilst the conference circuit maybe an unpopular cost with some within the POA, we have this year invested in stands at TUC, Labour Party and Conservative party conferences, this has been well received from the perspective of POA representatives and those visiting the stand, thus allowing us to put our issues across to a wider audience and give our view to influential politicians, union leaders and for wider general interest.
This is the fi rst time we have arranged for stands at party conferences and whilst we remain politically neutral, this has allowed us to share literature we have produced and attract many political leaders to come and talk with us. At the time of writing, we are yet to attend the Conservative party conference.
Now is the right time to start work on increasing the POA membership, which in turn, increases our ability to influence and I ask that POA members, branch officials or not, encourage all colleagues to join the POA. In due course, we will be launching new recruitment initiatives and the NEC will be considering the current branding on whether we should consider changes to bring to conference for your approval.
Trade unions have a habit in dire times at internal kicking themselves when their energy should be directed and focused at those applying the pain, the message of unity and the power of working together for positive outcomes is key to breaking apathy amongst our members and so I want to make it a theme of my visits to repair old rifts and reinvigorate our own trade union movement.
Support each other
We must always support each other to defend from the inevitable attacks we face. This is personified by those members at Ashworth, who have faced a torrent of attacks on what should be basic rights. The pressures they have faced have galvanised the membership and shown that POA members will stand up for each other on a variety of issues. Let’s make sure no matter what our differences are at times, that we remember that supporting each other is the fundamental point on which trade unions thrive.
Thanks for reading!