Probation Service staff strike for a pay rise

Workers have had enough after 16% pay cut

UNISON Probation strike.jpg

UNISON members in the Probation Service walked out today in protest at yet another pay freeze. Management have offered 0% for this year, following a 0% rise last year. UNISON reports probation staff have lost 16% of their pay in real terms since 2010.

Nigel, a UNISON rep at the Lewis Street centre in Cardiff, explained how the service was being broken up and how the unions were under attack. Workers in the now-privatised Community Rehabilitation Companies have been hit by the same blow that the civil service unions faced. Management have removed the 'check-off' facility in order to make the collection of union membership fees more difficult. The rest of the probation service will soon face the same attack. "It's an attempt to try and weaken the unions," said one picket.

Those attempts obviously are not working. Lewis Street was shut completely by the strike, with just one lonely non-union admin worker in the building. The strike was also well supported at the Westgate street office in Cardiff. The three-hour strike will be follwed by over two weeks of work-to-rule, which will have a big impact in a service which virtually runs on unpaid overtime.

Cardiff Trades Council members were well-received on the picketline. With workers in the Probation Service joining those from Cardiff Bus, First Great Western and the Museum of Wales all taking action in the last few months it's obvious that the mood exists for action, and the idea of a general strike to strengthen all the disputes by bringing them together was eagerly discussed by union members.

Ross Saunders

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