As part of the Tory’s attacks on trade union organisation the Ministry of Justice has decided to stop UNISON members in the National Probation Service (NPS) from paying their monthly membership subscriptions from their salaries. UNISON is advising NPS members to set up payment by direct debit as soon as possible to ensure they remain fully paid up members.
The withdrawal of DOCAS (deduction of contributions at source) was first announced by the then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling shortly after probation staff were transferred into private sector community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) and the newly formed NPS. The change in subs payment only affects members employed by the NPS. DOCAS will continue for members in CRCs.
The current arrangements in NPS will stop at the end of September so members will need to have set up direct debits before then to make sure they continue to benefit from the protection of UNISON membership.
NPS members can change to direct debit by one of three methods:
- Switch online at unison.org.uk/switchnow
- Call UNISONdirect free on 0800 0 857 857
- Download the direct debit switch form and send it using the freepost address printed on the form
Once members have made the switch to direct debit they will need to inform NOMS Shared Services that they want to stop paying their UNISON subs from their salary. To do this they should complete sections A, B and D of Voluntary Deduction Form DPD4 (available on My Services, HR Forms) and send to NOMS Shared Services, either by post or e-mail. This should be done immediately after the last subs payment that they wish to make from their salary. UNISON has asked NOMS to ensure that the Shared Services provider SSCL has the capacity and systems in place to deal with members’ DOCAS mandate cancellations in a timely manner. If any members find that subs have been deducted both through direct debit and from their salary for the same period, UNISON will refund any overpayment.
The Eastern Region Probation Branch has launched its campaign to switch NPS members subs payment to direct debit. Alongside leaflets, posters and switch forms stewards and regional staff will be meeting members in workplaces to set out the changes and collect completed switch forms.