Advice for UNISON branches during Napo strike

Napo, the probation and family courts staff union, has notified probation trusts that it intends to call out its members for a 24-hour strike starting at 12 noon on Tuesday 5 November.

UNISON is supportive of the Napo action, but is not calling you out on strike, because:

  • we have not yet registered a trade dispute;
  • we are currently still working on the draft NNC Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement with a view to reaching agreement.

However, we cannot rule out problems occurring in the negotiations and we have to be prepared for the possibility that talks might run into difficulties over key issues that cannot be agreed.

If this happens, UNISON reserves the right to declare an appropriate trade dispute and initiate an industrial action ballot to protect members’ interests.

When we surveyed members in July, 99% of members said that they opposed the government’s probation reforms and 85% said that they would be prepared to undertake industrial action if necessary, up to and including strike action, to defend their job, terms and conditions and pensions.

UNISON respects the timetable that Napo has chosen to register its trade dispute, and its decision to call its members out on strike for a 24-hour period from 12 noon on 5 November.

In doing so, Napo is working to an existing mandate from its 2012 annual conference and the latest meeting of its national executive committee.

UNISON and Napo have been in close touch over the implications of the Napo industrial action strategy for our joint working.

Our earlier joint statement on working together acknowledges the potential for co-ordinating industrial action in the future, if this becomes necessary.

UNISON will continue to work in close partnership with Napo and GMB to protect the interests of our joint membership.

Given that UNISON is not calling you out on strike on 5 or 6 November, for the reasons given above, you are advised that:

  • you should report for work as normal on 5 and 6 November and continue with your normal duties and responsibilities;
  • you should not undermine the Napo action by taking on any additional responsibilities given to you as a direct result of the Napo strike action.

You are also strongly encouraged to show support for Napo colleagues by attending strike rallies or meetings called at lunchtime, or any other time outside of your normal working hours – in other words, in your own time.

We anticipate Napo official picket lines at probation premises from the start of the strike. You should be aware that refusal to cross an official picket line could render you liable to disciplinary action, including deduction of salary.

You are also advised that, when crossing a picket line, you should reassure Napo members that you will not undertake any work normally done by those on strike.

UNISON has advised Napo of this advice.