UNISON members working for the NPS (National Probation Service) and CRCs (Community Rehabilitation Companies) will be going out on second strike over pay for three hours on Monday 14 September. The strike will be followed by 2 ½ weeks of action short of strike with members working strictly to their contracted hours.
The first UNISON strike on 14 July showed the employers that UNISON members are serious about getting a decent deal on pay for 2014. It kept the issue of pay on the agenda and was necessary in order to ensure that UNISON’s industrial action ballot authority did not expire.
Prior to the strike, we had hoped that the intervention of ACAS in the pay dispute would have led to proper negotiations with the employers, who up to that point had simply not been prepared to reconsider their insulting 0% pay offer for 2014. We went into the ACAS talks with an open mind and ready to reach a negotiated settlement to the long running pay dispute.
However, the probation employers responded by walking out of the ACAS pay talks. In a letter to UNISON and Napo, the employer’s side secretary of the National Negotiating Council stated that the employers had sacked ACAS in relation to the pay dispute, saying that ‘…we cannot agree to further talks involving ACAS on this issue.’
Things can only get worse
UNISON’s National Probation Committee considered this provocative action and agreed that it left UNISON with no alternative but to call further strike action to be followed by action short of strike action.
Without a stand on pay now, living standards are going to decline very badly over the next four years of this government. Its pay policy means that staff will only get one increment a year for the next four years, and that’s a contractual entitlement anyway! Backing down now will be seen as a show of weakness and the employers at both NPS and the CRCs will come for more of our hard-won terms and conditions
What action short of strike action will be taken?
From 15 September to 2 October, members will work strictly to their contracted hours:
- Arriving and leaving on time, rather than starting early or staying late
- Not attending work before the start of an unsocial hours shift
- Not accruing flexi-credit during the period of action short of strike action
- Using up flexi-credit during the period of action short of strike action
- Taking a full lunch break
- Ensuring that all your health and safety breaks are taken
- Not agreeing to any voluntary overtime during the period of action short of strike action
- Taking any TOIL entitlement during the period of action short of strike action