JTU27-2021 12 November 2021
Since the earlier publication of the indicative ballot results rejecting the Government Pay Freeze and derisory 2021-2022 Probation Pay Offer, strenuous efforts have been made to reopen talks on pay with the employer.
The delay has been caused by the need to await the outcomes from the Comprehensive Spending Review which were published last week. Since the round of Union conferences last month there has also been engagement with the new Probation Minister Kit Malthouse and the Director General Amy Rees. Here it has been made clear that our respective members demand their employer resume engagement on the pay claim and the prospects for a multi-year pay settlement.
The fact that talks are now underway again is because of the solidarity shown by members across the three unions in delivering a powerful message - that you have simply had enough of seeing no progress on pay at the same time as workloads being at unsustainable levels.
Three meetings have taken place this week and at Wednesday’s Probation Service Joint Negotiating Committee, the unions recorded a strong statement expressing our serious disappointment at the lack of delivery against a whole series of agreements; some of which extend as far back as the 2018 pay settlement. These include:
- The continuing delay to paying contractual incremental pay progression
- The failure to honour the agreement reached on the AP Residential Worker regrading and back pay.
- The lack of progress in concluding the talks on deleting Pay Band 1 and the assimilation arrangements.
- The promise of a Managerial Review which has yet to materialise.
- The Probation Service Pay Manual, which was agreed in 2018, and which is desperately needed to sort out the many pay problems members face
- The continuing difficulties that have been encountered in the Job Evaluation Scheme and the long delay in reviewing certain jobs several years after the E3 restructuring exercise
The nature of pay negotiations means that it is simply not possible to issue daily reports as to progress, but unions are on standby to call their respective Negotiating Committees together at the earliest opportunity.
Trade Dispute and Industrial Action still a real possibility
Despite the welcome resumption of dialogue on pay, these have been difficult discussions against the backdrop of the government’s pay freeze policy that is extremely hostile to the public service. We are therefore under no illusions about how challenging it will be to elicit an improved pay offer, if at all.
This means that all unions are continuing with their contingency planning for an industrial action campaign, but as our members would expect, we are at the same time doing all that we can to exhaust all opportunities to make progress.
More news on the pay negotiations will follow as soon as it becomes available.