UNISON remains fundamentally opposed to the wholesale destruction of the Probation Service which the Government’s plans would bring about if implemented. We will now scrutinise the Government proposals in detail, so that we can work most effectively to protect the interests of UNISON Probation members. There are many legal and technical issues which we will need to fully understand in order to do this. The split of probation staff into the new public probation service, or the new private contract areas, is likely to prove one of the most difficult and controversial areas in the reform plans. How pay, conditions and pensions are handled in this split will be matters of great concern to UNISON.
UNISON is sceptical about the benefits of mutualisation as a means of probation staff securing their future as providers of probation services under the system of competition outlined in the Government’s plans. We are aware that a number of Trusts are actively considering this option, but we have not been able to secure guarantees from Government as to how pensions will be protected in a Probation Mutual. Any branches or representatives who are currently involved in Trust discussions on mutualisation are asked to notify UNISON’s national office as a matter of urgency and supply copies of all relevant local documentation you have on mutualisation proposals.
UNISON will be working closely with our sister trade unions in Probation – Napo and GMB – to ensure that we present a united front to those who would break up and destroy the Probation Service. We will need the help and support of our members, activists, branches and regions in order to work most effectively in our defence of the Probation Service. We are not opposed to change, but these plans are being pushed through by Government in the face of almost total opposition from those who currently work in the field of Probation.
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