Justice system staff call for return of collective bargaining in probation

Delegates at Unison's 2019 Police and Justice Conference have called for a return to collective bargaining at a national level for the UK's probation service.

7 Oct 2019| News

Probation is due to be reintegrated into the public sector next year after a raft of failures by the private contractors who took over parts of the service as part of a Tory outsourcing plan.

But due to differences in pay structures and terms and conditions between private companies and the state’s National Probation Service (NPS), some workers are set to lose as much as 20% of their wage when the sector is re-nationalised.

Receptionists at NPS receive Band 1 pay – a rate lower than the National Living Wage. While the service has raised the Band 1 salary to conform to minimum wage rules, it has only done so for those aged over 25.

Given that many private companies abolished Band 1, receptionists could lose as much as £3,000 per year when re-nationalisation begins.

Further, because probation workers have been employed by a number of different companies during privatisation, they have different wages, conditions and pension agreements to others doing the same job.

“I could say it’s a mess,” Maureen le Marinel, speaking for the service group executive, said. “But it’s more than that, it’s a disgrace.”

Police and justice staff at the conference called for Band 1 pay to be abolished and the structure of pay and conditions under the nationalised service to be agreed through a process of collective bargaining at a national level.