Strike on pay by probation service staff

STaf at the Blackpool office of the Probation Service on strike over a 0% pay offer.
STaf at the Blackpool office of the Probation Service on strike over a 0% pay offer.
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Probation workers across the Fylde staged a two hour strike in an ongoing pay battle.

The Unison workers, who deal with offenders and recently released prisoners, are angry and frustrated over a zero per cent offer for the year 2014.

Most other public sector workers got one per cent but they are saying to our members that they are worth nothing

Since then the service has been split into two with the service for low risk offenders being sold off by the Government to private company Sodexo, which is set to cut jobs.

The workers say that has caused chaos between the two arms, the National Probation Service and the Community Rehabilitation Company. They say they feel that they are being victimised as most other public sector workers were given a one per cent pay rise while the Ministry of Justice has ignored them.

Recent talks at ACAS have failed to resolve the matter and the Unison staff, who had held off on industrial action pending those talks, say they have no choice but to strike after nine months.

Maria Moss, regional organiser for Unison said: “We are taking action over pay. The employers have offered zero percent in what is blatantly a political act.

“Most other public sector workers got one per cent but they are saying to our members that they are worth nothing.This is a key service for protecting the public and helping to ensure that offenders don’t offend again.”

One worker, who did not want to be named, said: “We have had to deal with a lot of changes this year.

“Why are we worth nothing when MPs voted themselves a pay rise?”

Sodexo declined to comment but the Ministry of Justice said: “It is very disappointing that Unison want to pursue strike action which was supported by less than one in five of its members. We now urge Unison to engage in discussions about the future.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “On the back of a botched privatisation of a public service it is deplorable that they are not even being offered the one per cent increase that other public sector staff are entitled.”