Christmas and bad news are synonymous, especially if you are employed within one of the three Working Links (WL) Community Rehabilitation Companies covering Wales and the South West of England.
Although we are short of vital information about the exact numbers of intended job losses in each of the WL locations, the quantum 40% reduction in overall staffing costs is both ‘gobsmacking’ and absolutely outrageous. The meeting this week in Worle between CRC and WL senior management and the Unions (which Mike McClelland and I attended alongside local Napo Reps) heard the by now familiar tales of woe about how the contractor has fallen foul of the Weighted Annual Volume (WAV) syndrome, the WAV is essentially the forecasts of the numbers of service users that were expected to cross the CRCs' doors and which were a major factor in the bidding process around fee for service / payment by results that the CRC owners entered into.
Of course, we know that the whole shambolic process which preceded the CRC share sale was, to say the least, less than transparent. Even after allowing some bidders a second bite at the cherry after their first efforts had failed to pass muster, the whole despicably inept exercise has several months later resulted in what seems to be a ‘suck it and see’ approach to the rather important task of managing offenders.
While it would be churlish to castigate Working Links for things that they were ripped off on in terms of the contracts they signed, they could do worse that join us in common cause in the representations to the Minister that the unions will be making.
As you would expect a lot of work has been going on this week and further correspondence is in draft as I write this so I will report in more detail next week. Meanwhile, let me make it absolutely clear: Napo opposes the rationale as well as the size of these intended job cuts and given the steer that I received from local reps this week, I have no hesitation in saying that if members want the campaign to include industrial action we, and our sister union Unison, must respond accordingly.