A Pay Rise for Probation Workers

Back to all Motions

2023 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
26 September 2023

Conference notes:

On 23rd June 2023 the Probation unions, UNISON, Napo and GMB/SCOOP submitted a pay-reopener claim of an increase in the value of all pay points of 12% effective from 1 April 2023 and an unconsolidated payment of £2,500.

Despite repeated promises over many weeks the employer has failed to respond to this pay claim. While the cumulative value of total Probation staff pay rises from 2010 till 2023 has been 7.6%, the cost of living has risen by 81.5% over the same period

The failure of pay to keep up with the rising cost of living has led to major cuts in living standards for Probation staff and their families since 2010.

A probation salary of £27,102 in 2010 if it had kept up with the rising cost of living (RPI) would now be worth £49,190. Instead, with probation service pay awards it is worth £29,162. This represents a £20,028 per annum cut in real terms pay.

The overall vacancy rate amongst probation officers in March of this year was a frightening 29%. The decline in the value of probation salaries is having a very damaging impact on recruitment and retention. High staff turnover means that the Probation Service cannot adequately supervise people on probation with consequent risks to public protection. To return to 2010 real terms pay probation staff need a 68.7% pay rise. As a comparison, Police Staff and Prison Officers have received 7% pay rises this year.

Conference therefore believes:

1) The three-year pay settlement of 2022/2023/2024, of 3.2% per annum is wholly inadequate in the context of historically exceptional UK price inflation rates. In October 2022 RPI reached 14.2%, a level of inflation not seen for 42 years. These were levels of inflation that were not predicted at the time the three-year pay settlement was agreed by members of the three Probation trade unions;

2) It is completely unacceptable for the employer, despite many promises, to fail to provide a response to the probation unions’ pay re-opener claim;

3) That in the context of massive falls in real terms pay since 2010, a 12% per annum increase and an unconsolidated payment of £2,500 is a very modest and restrained pay claim.

Conference therefore calls on the Police and Justice SGE to work with the Probation Service Sector Committee to explore all options to seek to bring the employer back to constructive negotiations over a pay-reopener pay offer, including the possibility of registering a new trade dispute and a consultative ballot of probation members on their willingness to take various forms of industrial action.