The announcement of a proposed pay freeze for public sector workers has caused serious anger amongst staff in Probation and Family Courts. An emergency motion passed at Napo’s recent National Executive Committee condemns the actions of the government calling it “an insult to the heroic work and the service our members have continued to provide throughout the pandemic”.
Ian Lawrence General Secretary said: “Only last week the government and the public referred to public sector workers as “essential key workers”, and the “hidden heroes” of the pandemic. This week they are expected to pay for the cost of the pandemic from their salaries. It is an utter disgrace and their previous warm words were clearly just paying lip service to our hard working essential workers”.
The announcement has angered those working in the public sector and devalues the critical work they have been doing throughout the pandemic. Despite the Chancellor previously saying they would not go back to austerity this appears to be doing exactly that. Probation staff have, at best received one cost of living pay rise in 2018, the only one in 10 years of pay freezes. Many staff working for private probation providers have not even received that. Napo members believe that all essential workers should receive a pay rise for their hard work and dedication during such difficult times.
Ian Lawrence went on to say “To say they cannot afford to give essential key workers a pay rise is astonishing, as Government seem more than able to find vast sums of money for poor contracts from PPE to test and trace. If they have no money it is because they have wasted so much in their abysmal handling of the pandemic”.
The pay freeze will have a detrimental impact on recruitment and retention within both CAFCASS and Probation as salaries are already well below other comparable professions. For example, Band 1 workers in CAFCASS are having to do overtime in order to pay for Christmas. Band 1 in the National Probation Service is below the Joseph Rowntree Foundation calculation for a living wage. As such, Napo members have strongly indicated their support for a cross union campaign to challenge these proposals.
Ian Lawrence said: “It is outrageous that the Chancellor has made a statement in parliament thus negating collective bargaining for our members. To do this before unions have even had a chance to begin 2021 pay talks undermines industrial relations and will leave our members feeling angry and disenfranchised by their employers.”I call on the Chancellor to urgently review this policy as a matter of urgency. He has totally misread the room by penalising our key workers. We will be asking parliamentarians to challenge the government and support our hidden heroes”.