National Chair

Issue 67 | 31.03.2010

Industrial Relations

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Dear Colleagues

I would like to outline the views of the National Executive Committee in respect of industrial relations, which are at an all time low at National level.

It is clear that the NOMS Board are “drunk on imposition” and see fit to impose change on this Union using the 28 day consultation process, regardless of how dangerous that change is. This is not acceptable and we must challenge dangerous change at every level.

Whenever the NEC discuss industrial relations with those at the very top, we are always advised that industrial relations at local level is good. This is not the view of the NEC and this is not reflected in the views being put forward to the NEC by our members.

Following the announcement by Jack Straw and the open letter from Robin Wilkinson on the 27th April 2009, the Service has continued to impose change, change that will have irreversible long term effects on the Service and our members. This Union has never been afraid of change, but change should come about by negotiation and not by imposition that make our Prisons more dangerous to work in.

In 2008 when the JIRPA expired, we advised the membership that things would be difficult and industrial relations strained. However, I doubt if anyone thought that it would get this bad. In recent months this Union has been trying to agree a new National Disputes Agreement and despite our best efforts NOMS will not agree to any proposals. This only serves to re-affirm the Executive’s opinion that industrial relations are at an all time low and there is no will on the part of the NOMS Board to have structured industrial relations National Dispute Resolution Procedure.

Our colleagues in Northern Ireland are in work today facing an injunction for working to their terms and conditions and following POA policy. This is exactly what happened to this Union in 2007, following the decision of the Executive to persuade its members to follow POA policy. Clearly, if imposition fails and workers stand up for their rights, the use of the Courts is the avenue that the NOMS Board will use.

This Union will not stand by and allow imposition to continue.

Colin Moses
National Chairman