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As of Monday, 25th May, the Scottish National Committee welcomed three new committee members, John Devine, Karen Ewen and Jim McCabe. Jim, as Vice Chairperson will, in the interim, take up the role as POAS Chairperson until an election can be held to fill the vacant post of Chair. This post now being vacant due to the previous Chair (Phil Fairlie) taking on the role of Assistant General Secretary (Scotland) we wish them all luck in their roles.
Your SNC are currently:-
John Cairney – SNC Committee Member
Willie Carle- SNC Committee Member
John Devine – SNC Committee Member
Karen Ewen – SNC Committee member
Jim McCabe - (Vice Chair)
William Reid - (Treasurer)
Phil Fairlie - (Assistant General Secretary (Scotland)
On this point we would like say farewell and to thank our colleagues who have decided to move on or retire from the SNC and for the commitment and service they have given to the Prison Officers Association Scotland. Andy Hogg, Mick Grattan, Ian Welsh and Tony Quinn, and wish them all the best for the future.
As a result of the changes to the committee some establishments will also have a change of National Representative. This information along with your representative’s contact details will be shared shortly with you. An updated workstream for each individual SNC member will also be published. This will allow you the membership to clearly see who represents you at national committees.
The SNC would like to take this opportunity to update you on some of the current issues affecting you the membership. Some weeks ago the SNC informed you that we had been instructed (in accordance with Government advice) by the POA General Secretary, that all POA officials and employees were not to travel, as this work may not deemed to be essential travel and that we were to carry out our duties remotely, frustratingly this instruction is still in place however correspondence has been sent to the General Secretary asking him to reconsider this instruction and this will be a continued matter of discussion going forward however in the meantime we are still working on behalf of the membership, albeit remotely.
We would like to re-emphasise POAS circular 08/20 (sent on 19th March) to inform the membership that the SNC are still represented on the National Coronavirus Response Group (NCRG) and as a committee we continue to represent the membership in this forum. All staff updates are sent by email daily and these are then updated on the COVID-19 SharePoint page. To keep abreast of any changes, we would ask you to regularly visit this site.
As the advice surrounding lockdown measures is evolving we need to be mindful that within our prisons the regimes will also change to mirror what happens in the community however the SNC and LBC will ensure that these changes are time managed and in accordance with the appropriate H&S regulations ensuring the safety of our members is paramount in any of these regime changes. Furthermore, we remind you that the removal of the 6 weeks’ notice period for change of attendance pattern was a one-off agreement to help support the H&S of our members at a critical time. Therefore, when we move forward to a more familiar regime the Revision 4 document will apply and any further attendance patterns will be negotiated in partnership and in accordance with the properly agreed time frames. For the avoidance of any doubt the SNC can assure you that these “core day” attendance patterns are NOT here to stay. They are temporary measures put in place to ensure your safety at a time when we still have over 550 operational staff off due to COVID-19. All establishments will return (with local and national agreement) to their normal shift patterns when it is safe to do so. What we must not lose sight of when we do move forward is that implementation without consultation is not partnership working.
The SNC want to place on record our admiration to you all for the continued professionalism displayed by each one of you during this pandemic. It goes without saying that you our members may have concerns not only in your working but your home environment also. If you do have concerns, please speak to your local or national representative as we are all here to help each other. Please be rest assured that now as previously that the Health & Safety of you our members will continue to be at the forefront of all decisions taken both nationally and locally.
This time more than probably any time before in our recent history unity is strength.
As we all continue to move forward, we the SNC will steadfastly work on your behalf and improve communications with you the members going forward.
On behalf of POA Scotland
SCOTTISH NATIONAL COMMITTEE
Representing over 30,000 Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, the POA is the largest UK Union in this sector, able to trace its roots back more than 100 years.