Napo election: militant union strategy needed to defeat privatisation

National vice-chair elections in Napo (which organises family court and probation workers) run from 18 July to 22 August. There are three candidates contesting two positions.

Socialist Party member Chas Berry, who has contested council elections as an anti-cuts Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate, explains why he is standing.

Chas Berry

Chas Berry   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

“Napo is involved in a long battle to defeat the government’s attempt to break up and privatise the probation service. So far, this has involved two and a half days of national strike action as well as a concerted campaign in the media and in Parliament to force Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to back down.

Our strength has been our willingness to lead an independent strategy that has forced concessions that protect significant parts of our terms and conditions and it is this pressure and the threat of further action that is the key to seeing off the privatisation of the newly created Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs).

We can have no confidence in Labour coming to the rescue and must maintain our independent position of opposition to privatisation up to and, if necessary, beyond ‘share sale’ later this year.

Independence does not mean isolation, however, and we must try to build on common ground with Unison, GMB and other unions. Alongside our colleagues in Family Courts we face the common problems of low pay, high workloads and the threat of privatisation.

Unity in action around pay can unite us all and seize back the initiative from the privateers. General strike action on this issue would raise the confidence of all workers and send a powerful message that we won’t accept the degradation and ruination of our livelihoods.

With all the major parties following the same big business agenda it is vital we use our political fund to back candidates that won’t do their dirty work for them. This means helping those like in TUSC who want to see a new party that represents the millions not the millionaires.”