Napo’s obligation to its older members
Old people are often quite alert. They have been known to stay awake until the afternoon. In addition, they are often militant, angry, experienced and keen. They want to help. Finally they have got time on their hands.
These are people who should be active in Napo. They could make the difference between struggling and sinking. They can do individual representations, where they have a massive advantage: they are not employed by the people across the table. They can sit on Napo committees: no problem about time availability there. They can negotiate. They can hold branch posts. They can train newer members. They could in fact hold Napo together.
But there is another side to this. Retired members tend to leave Napo because they feel there is nothing in it for them They are right of course: there is nothing in it for them. But there should be. Napo has an obligation towards its senior members. They deserve respect; they should be valued. They should be kept in the social fold, kept in touch, not isolated.
A society that cannot look after its old people is not a society at all.
The 2018 AGM passed a motion to establish a retired members committee.
A Retired Members’ Committee would have two functions: to assist in strengthening the union’s structure and to involve and care for retired members. NAPO can afford this because the increase in membership subscriptions would cover the costs.
Following the 2018 AGM motion, Napo’s TUO Committee was given the task of reporting to the NEC with plans for setting up this committee at the 2019 AGM. Older people cannot afford to wait.
Millennials in Napo
Having worked in the probation service for over seven years, I don’t feel like a young person but I do often have to remind my non-union and union colleagues that, yes, I do remember what things were like before we were privatised, thank you.
I joined Napo when I became a probation service officer as I realised then that this job had become my career and I became more invested in what the future of the service would look like.
I think people in my generation (millennials) have a tendency to not understand the role of union. We have had individualistic ideas advertised to us in so many forms and have been told that collective action does not work throughout our lives. This is a belief that I try to challenge among my friends and peers.
I knew to join a union as both my parents have worked for the National Health Service. A service where people are motivated to do good work, but the nature and volume of the work can often be very difficult to deal with (does this sound familiar?). I learnt that collective action is one of the most successful ways to address problems in this work environment as employers often rely on an individual employee’s sense of duty to keep the business going in tough times.
I became more active in the branch once I realised that many of the longstanding employees and union members had left. As a Working Links employee, the branch was a vital lifeline to reminding myself that it was senior management, not me, who were doing a terrible job. Following this, I became really interested in the topic of work-related stress, which led me to be elected CRC Health & Safety Rep for Western Branch.
I recently joined the Campaigning Committee, which made me realise how much I have to learn about the work that our union does. I am thankful that they’ve let me in and really, incredibly excited to do some of the work that we decided to do at the AGM in October.
See you at this year’s in Cardiff!
Ruth Oval, Western Branch