Earlier this year the Probation trade unions submitted a multi-year pay claim to try and achieve some certainty on pay going forward. After some promising early exchanges, the negotiations hit a barrier when the government announced a public sector pay freeze.
Despite every effort by negotiators to point out how staff have maintained vital services at great risk in the face of the pandemic while helping to deliver Probation reunification, we eventually received a derisory pay offer for 2021 that has recently been considered by Napo’s Probation Negotiating Committee (PNC).
Indicative ballot to be launched – reject the pay freeze!
Essentially the offer means that only those staff earning less than £24k would receive £250, with no increase in pay or allowances for anybody else. That means the majority of probation staff will get no pay rise at all this year and probation pay will continue to go backwards.
Members are understandably asking about when contractual pay progression will be paid out. As we have explained previously this requires clearance by the Treasury, but it is important to remember that pay progression arrangements are designed to ensure that staff receive the rate for the job within 5 years. Therefore, pay progression is not a pay award to compensate you for rises in living costs.
In light of the above, and the disappointing pay award in 2020, the PNC have recommended that Napo members in the Probation Service should be asked to reject the pay offer and indicate their willingness alongside UNISON members, who are also being balloted, to take industrial action. Any action would only take place following a second statutory ballot.
Further details of the indicative ballot will be sent to members next week together with an electronic ballot paper. Members will be asked to send a strong message to the government, and to the Probation Service, that we will not accept the pay freeze lying down and that the offer from the employer is an insult.