Probation unions in England and Wales have demanded talks with the National Probation Service (NPS) today, after it confirmed that it will not be able to pay its staff their expected 2020 increment in April.
UNISON national officer Ben Priestley said: “The failure of the NPS to pay its staff their 2020 increments on time in April sends all the wrong messages to members.
“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of probation told the service it has got to raise its game on staffing matters, so this is a setback which it could ill-afford.
“UNISON will work with the NPS on the improvement programme which everyone agrees needs to be put in place, but paying staff correctly and on time is pretty basic stuff. Our members deserve better.”
The joint unions – UNISON, Napo, and GMB/SCOOP – were made aware of the possibility of this happening earlier this year.
In 2018, members voted to accept a two-year pay modernisation offer that specifically included a commitment to pay the increment on time.
The unions lobbied chief probation officer Sonia Flynn and prison and director general of probation Amy Rees in a bid to head off any failure to pay the staff their increments.
They also met prisons and probation minister Lucy Frazer last month, and drafted the 2020-2021 pay claim to emphasise the need for the service to pay the increment on time.
Despite all this, the NPS has failed to get the necessary sign-off from the Treasury to pay the increment on time.
The unions are considering the next steps to take and will keep members up to date on developments.