The Napo campaign to have maternity and other family friendly policies harmonised across the probation service gathered momentum on International Women’s Day (8 March) as members took to Twitter to show their support.
Member’s posed with #MaternityRightsMatters selfie boards in a bid to highlight the unfair differences between maternity policies available to NPS employees and their civil service colleagues at NOMS.
Speaking on the campaign, Sarah Friday, National Official and WiN lead said: “It was great that so many members took up our request to support the hashtag pic campaign for their maternity rights.
“Members were getting increasingly frustrated at the ongoing delay in implementation of the policy. NOMS exasperated this when in January they implemented the draconian Attendance Management Policy against a background of union opposition – both ourselves and POA were in dispute.
“NOMS said they had no choice but to implement, claiming it was ‘necessary to align NOMS with the Ministry Justice and with wider Civil Service Policy’. Yet NOMS refused to apply the same principle and introduce policies that would be of benefit to our members. When it looked like we were finally getting close to implementation, NPS proposed they would link improvements to maternity and family friendly policies to asking long service staff to give up some annual leave!
“It was really important to drive home to NOMS the anger members feel over being treated in such a way and the pictures tweeted with the #MaternityRightsMatters logo has helped with this.”
International Women’s Day was chosen to highlight this anger because of its historical links with women in work and trade union action.
The day came about as a result of a demonstration in New York in the early 1900s in support of a garment workers’ strike that had taken place the year before.
A few years later in 1917 Russian women took to the streets of St Petersburg on International Women’s Day to demand the end of World War I and an end to food shortages. Other workers quickly joined them and the government’s attempts at stopping the demonstration failed when women spoke to the soldiers and persuaded them to lay down their arms. A few days later the monarch collapsed and the revolution began.