Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence responding to the news about Working Links said: ‘There will be very few staff who have been employed in the Working Links CRCs who will shed a tear at the news of the demise of this most dreadful company.
The unsafe operational model that was introduced at the start of the CRC contracts and the disastrous staffing cuts were the catalyst to a formal dispute between the probation trade unions and Working Links that is in its third year. The dedication of our members in trying their best in almost impossible working conditions and their refusal to be intimidated by Working Links regressive employment practices has been especially commendable.
The cynical tactics of this company which prevented their senior managers from engaging with the trade unions on pay, safe workloads and practice issues was a total disgrace, and typified the disrespect shown to their workforce by the Working Links Directors during their tenure, and that of their German-based parent company Aurelius.
Napo has continually pleaded with Ministers to terminate the contracts between the MoJ and Working Links following highly critical reports from HM Inspectorate of Probation and a litany of high profile Serious Further Offences including a number of murders.
Whilst Napo would have preferred that the CRCs should have been returned into public ownership, we have received assurances from the Chief Executive of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Rehabilitation Company, who are now charged with operating a recovery plan, that they are fully committed to the return of professional standards and meaningful engagement with the trade unions.
Napo has made it clear that we expect early statements to confirm that there will be no compulsory redundancies and that urgent attention will be given to the serious workload problems that exist and the collapse of interventions in some areas. We also demand that early action be taken to redress the appalling position in relation to staff pay.
Napo and our sister unions have today written to the Secretary of State for Justice asking that all CRC contracts should be returned to public control at the earliest opportunity. We have also called on Ministers to halt their current plans to remarketise the Probation service.’
There has been speculation over pay. Napo has been assured that all staff will be paid on their normal pay date. It is likely that further information will be issued to members on Monday.