England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Covid-19: a probation worker writes

Protecting the public is at the heart of what probation workers do, and that won’t change during the Covid-19 crisis. Despite widespread staff concerns about contact with some of our more high-risk service-users during this epidemic, members of probation workers’ union Napo will continue to do what is necessary to keep the public safe.

Anger is growing towards the Johnson Government, however, for its apparent ‘intervention’ to stop the second part of our pay deal. Under pay restructuring agreed in 2018, members were told they would progress by one pay point in their revised pay band with no link to performance. This agreement has now been reneged on.

At the same time, members are being asked to volunteer for overtime because of C-19. As officially designated key workers, many of whom work in prisons and probation hostels, they are under considerable pressure to maintain a safe service. But many are asking why should they put themselves and their families at greater risk when the Government won’t pay us what they owe us.

The Tories have spent the best part of four decades undermining trust in our public services. This reached new depths with the break-up and part-privatisation of the Probation service in 2014. While that disastrous decision was eventually reversed, we are witnessing the same callous indifference from the current Tory administration towards its public servants.

Rest assured, probation workers, alongside prison, NHS staff and the workers in the emergency services, will all step up. But our message to the Tories is, ‘pay us what you owe us’, and our message to workers who are most at risk is: ‘support all those helping to get us through this crisis and never forget who ignored the evidence and left us exposed’.


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