After the considerable efforts by the Probation Unions to secure additional funding for a pay increase for all members in the 2017-18 pay year, I have just received this letter from HMPPS Chief Executive Michael Spurr. This says that the Agency has no intention of paying anything beyond the incremental progression that was implemented last April, meaning that the intention is that staff at their pay band maximum will receive no increase for 2017-18.
There will be a more detailed communication issued by the probation unions next week, but essentially I wanted all Napo members to be aware of my disgust at the shoddy and patronising response from the employer to our claims. This message is at serious odds with that which we hear has been imparted to NPS staff in recent communications from the NPS senior leadership team to the effect that the employer is seriously committed to doing something about probation pay.
Napo’s Probation Negotiating Committee meets next week to consider the situation and the prospects for longer term pay reform, but I expect that members will draw little comfort from the ‘Jam tomorrow’ nature of this reply, which is not only deeply disappointing but fails to explain the fact that money which ought to have been used to increase the pay of probation staff has been diverted elsewhere at the expense of our members.
Neither does this communication in any way reflect the incompetent manner in which pay talks have been conducted (amongst the worst that I can remember) and the at times farcical exchanges over how much money was (or was not) available at any given period.
Whilst Napo will of course want to engage in substantive talks on longer term pay reform, members will take some convincing that the NPS leadership is really serious about standing its corner against the MoJ and Treasury who, despite assurances from Ministers, show no sign of deviating from the Governments failed austerity policies.
More news about pay will follow as soon as it becomes available.