October 8: Probation Vote For Industrial Action
Probation and Family Court staff today voted unanimously for a campaign of industrial action. Over 600 Probation and Family Court staff at Napo’s Annual General Meeting in Scarborough voted to hold a ballot for a campaign of industrial action if swingeing cuts go ahead.
Delegates to Napo’s 98th AGM in Scarborough voted to fight the cuts, defend jobs, promote effective work with offenders and families, to fight privatisation and engage in concerted industrial action with other criminal justice unions.
Probation staff will also make courts fully aware of the impact of the cuts on resources and frontline services, which is bound to lead to more imprisonment. When the cuts go ahead probation will be unable to run sufficient programmes or have the staff to supervise community orders made by the courts.
Napo will be balloting members after the Comprehensive Spending Review later this month. Action will, wherever possible, be coordinated with other public sector unions for maximum impact.
Moving the cuts motion, Tim Wilson, of Napo's Northumbria Branch said:
“Currently the vast majority of probation expenditure is spent on staff costs. At the moment the service employs 20,000 people and this is expected to fall by 5,000 by March 2012. This will undermine the ability of the Probation Service to carry out its statutory duties”.
Seconding the motion, Jackie Leggett of Napo Cymru Branch said:
“Industrial action is inevitable and will involve joint initiatives with other public sector unions. It is ironic that if the Coalition invested in the Probation Service in the short term, it would save massive amounts in the medium and long term. The government should invest in probation and not cut and privatise it”.
Harry Fletcher, Assistant General Secretary, added:
“Kenneth Clarke the Justice Minister cannot call for less people to be jailed and instead be supervised in the community and at the same time cut Probation. Ironically, because of his contradictory actions, more people will be jailed as the courts discover that Probation is unable to fulfil its statutory obligations.