National Chair

Issue 68 | 03.10.2010

Countdown to CSR

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Dear Colleagues

The Coalition Governments Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) is due to be announced on the 20th October 2010 but most of the Ministers will have already identified to the Treasury the level of savings they believe their department can realise. In the last month I have been campaigning with the TUC and other trade unions against the proposed cuts and engaging with politicians to actively promote the Union.

EVENTS
In the second week of September, I attended the TUC and spoke on a number of motions, addressed several fringe meetings and took the opportunity to speak to leaders of other unions on forthcoming rallies and campaigns as I pressed ahead with the POA’s agenda. I met all of the candidates in the Labour Leadership race and spoke about prisons, trade union rights, privatisation and general matters relating to terms and conditions of POA members.

I attended the Liberal Democrats Conference and again participated in a number of fringe meetings, raising the profile of the POA with many politicians and members of the House of Lords. As a result of this activity we will set out a number of Early Day Motions when Parliament resumes in an attempt to further the case against privatisation and budget cuts.

Whilst attending the Labour Party Conference, I spoke to the majority of those MP’s seeking office in the shadow cabinet following the election of Ed Miliband. I attended a number of fringe meetings and took the opportunity to promote the work of POA members.

I am currently at the Conservative Party Conference and will continue to press the Union’s agenda. I have spoken to Ken Clarke for the second time in as many weeks. I would also like to thank those who carried the POA banner in the pouring rain at the demonstration in Birmingham.

The POA sent a delegation to Brussels as part of the ETUC in support of public sectors across Europe and again I thank those members for representing the Union. I know it was a long day but I am sure it was beneficial and am confident that members will reap the
long term rewards as we strengthen ties across Europe.

MEETINGS
In the last few weeks I have chaired a number of NEC meetings, discussing key issues and recording some difficult decisions.

I have continued to visit branches and addressed local meetings and as always am happy to attend any branch diary permitting.

The work of the Union continues with sub committees working on JES, a National Disputes Agreement and other day to day work for the POA and its members.

I met with Ken Clarke on the 22nd September 2010 and had a frank exchange of views, however I felt the meeting was positive considering the political climate and challenges we are all facing.

COMMUNICATION
The POA has often been criticised for the lack of communications with its members at national level.  I have to say this is all too often unjustified criticism. The POA can’t compete with the spin machine of Government and NOMS. We continue to try and raise the Unions profile with press releases but all too often the media fail to report. I have been on local and national radio in the last few weeks and continue to press for recognition of the professional work POA members perform each and every day. I will always challenge those who say prison does not work and do all I can to keep prisons in the public sector. However we will always support POA members when they are forced to work in places which are unsafe and dangerous.

CONCLUSION
The POA is facing some difficult and challenging times ahead.  We need to remain calm, united and not let individuals or groups attempt to destabilise the Union as we face and overcome these issues.
 
Yours sincerely
 

 

Colin Moses
National Chairman