Unions register formal NNC dispute on ‘One HMPPS’
At last week’s engagement meeting with HMPPS management, the Probation trade unions announced that they would need to carefully reflect on the disappointing outcomes and the worrying lack of clarity that has emerged from the consultative process so far, and that we would be revisiting our position of a pre-dispute.
Since then, the unions have met and discussed a number of other concerns and have now decided to formally register a dispute under the NNC Dispute Resolution Procedures. This was submitted to the Head of HMPPS Employee Relations on the 4th October 2023.
Why are we in this position?
The unions have repeatedly asked for a Implementation Agreement to ensure the protection of our members terms and conditions and assurances on our specific collective bargaining arrangements. We have also asked for a pause in the implementation of ‘One HMPPS’ so that we can better understand how the creation of another tier of senior management is supposed to help alleviate the enormous workload and staffing pressures being faced by our respective members.
Additionally, we have also pointed out that the recent call by the outgoing HM Inspector of Probation for an independent enquiry into the state of the Probation Service is a major development in our joint campaign to see the service eventually moved out of HMPPS and restored to our communities. We believe that ‘One HMPPS’ represents a clear barrier to this and that what Probation needs is time to stabilise and recover post-reunification.
As we have pointed out in our detailed letter to senior probation management which elaborates on these and many other areas of disagreement, the fact that we are in formal dispute will not prevent us maintaining dialogue and trying to understand the huge amounts of information that is being sent to us, so we are not ending the engagement process.
In due course, a NNC Disputes Panel will meet to consider evidence from the Probation Trade Unions. Our aim here will be to do all we can to protect the interests of our members by securing high level commitments across a range of areas including future collective bargaining and career development for our members.
Meanwhile, the unions will maintain our principled opposition to ‘One HMPPS’ and step up our campaigning activities towards the key objective of seeing the Probation Service restored to our Communities and working with partners and stakeholders more effectively than will be possible within a prison-centric One HMPPS.
More news will be issued to members once we have finalised the necessary procedural aspects after having lodged the dispute.
Ian Lawrence Ben Priestley George Georgiou
General Secretary National Officer National Officer
Napo UNISON GMB/SCOOOP