Saturday, 20 May 2017

CRC Dispute - Latest 24

Thanks go to the reader for forwarding the latest joint statement from Napo, Unison and GMB:-


Some progress made in resumed talks but a lot remains to be resolved

Last week saw the first fairly positive meeting for some time between Working Links senior management and the recognised trade unions – Unison, NAPO and GMB - to discuss the ongoing dispute and in particular a range of issues around Unpaid Work (UPW). This meeting was chaired by John Woods from ACAS.

Union reps raised the large number of cancelled placements and the resulting “lost hours,” including instances where offenders are sent away because no placements are available, and the resulting health and safety risk to staff.

We have secured agreement that the new Case Worker role which the employer wants to introduce to replace Band 3 UPW Supervisors will be subject to a job evaluation process with a panel including trade union reps.

Senior managers claim that changes to shift patterns (normally to a longer working day) are only happening voluntarily, but we are sceptical about this. If members are aware of any changes to shift patterns being effectively imposed on staff in UPW, please inform your local rep.

Crucially, we have secured agreement that until the changes in UPW are formally agreed, any changes to job descriptions and shift patterns will be without prejudice, and will not be used by the employer to argue that staff have accepted changes.

UPW staff in the South West and the Cardiff area have refused to accept changes to their current working conditions, until such time as there is proper and meaningful consultation.

With this in mind, we will continue to urge management to find an acceptable solution to the problems in UPW as soon as possible. Until this happens our advice to members in UPW remains not to sign anything implying agreement to variations of contract or changes in job title, or to attend one-to-one meetings in which you suspect you might be pressured or encouraged to do so.

We will continue to advocate for UPW staff in the South West of England who have rejected the proposed variations of contract to have the same opportunities to apply for redeployment, early voluntary redundancy or early retirement as staff in Wales have had.

No to Zero Hours!

We are concerned about the possible use of zero-hours contracts for sessional workers in the CRC – UNISON, NAPO and GMB are all opposed to the use of zero hour contracts and will continue to resist their implementation in favour of contracts with guaranteed minimum hours which maintain flexibility without jeopardising workers’ rights.

Memorandum of Agreement emerges

Whilst there are many issues still to resolve, there was some optimism about what appears to be a renewed willingness of senior Working Links managers to commit to working with the trade unions, and we anticipate that several more meetings are likely to take place in the near future, possibly extending the conversations around UPW to the Interventions teams and elsewhere. We are now seeking to finalise a Memorandum of Agreement that sets out the process for the detailed discussions around UPW.

Relations between UNISON, NAPO and GMB reps in the CRC are positive and we are working closely together. We remain optimistic that progress will be made soon, but for the moment we continue to remain in an official dispute with the three CRCs and Aurelius/Working Links.

More news will follow as soon as it is available, meanwhile it has never been more important for Working Links CRC employees to join a trade union and help us to collectively bargain for all!


  1. Off piste or Piste off from Interserve here... no doubt I'm pushing against an open door here, but it is admitted throughout the probation family that the hardest job in our world is the UPW supervisor.. We POs/PSOs risk manage the individual, what is not risk managed is the collective group dynamic.. programmes may be slightly similar but they deal with groups of 'supposed like minded offenders and in the relative safety of a secure building; the salty brave supervisor who has a varied goup from all social groups, use all their collective skills, experience and wit to manage the group. Some service users/clients/offenders are extremely difficult to manage, We POs/PSOs know this because we have individuals who maybe small in number but take up a disproportionate amount of our time in relation to our caseloads.. They are dealing more and more with difficult and disturbed boys and girls in the age group 18- 25.. Mental health, drug addiction, alcohol, gang culture,,, not forgetting the daily fight they have with cannabis use on projects,,, fire fighting all day and every day, yet somehow they deliver with the piss poor support they are afforded by management.. They are attacked,, abused,, (this is all recorded),, yet they still turn in every day, 7 days a week.. Remember the days when some POs/PSOs did sessional work for added pin money to support the supervisor.. you know what our client base can be like.. yet the trusty supervisor puts up with it, always having to challenge, having to call on all the experience they have .. just to get through the day.. clearly it's not like that every day but on any given day in any given area some poor supervisor is being subjected to some vile outpouring from an offender who got out of the wrong side of bed. Are they saints?; no of course not, they would be the first to say they have bad days, but despite their human shortfalls, they do the job.. not with the knowledge that they are fully supported and we have their backs, but knowing they are not going to be popular because they sent little Tommy Aitkens off project again for smoking his spliff, or going too far again with his abuse (all in front of the great British public).. Pay them well I say and look after them.. we are sometimes guilty that we take them for granted..

    1. Absolutely agree 10:19 as another member of the Interswerve family not only are UPW supervisors paid poorly they're in short supply resulting in current staff having to travel as and where they're required across the whole of CGM meaning they have to leave home much earlier in order to collect vans ,equipment and offenders !!!

    2. Our Supervisors are all band 3 same as PSO's, we have contracted and zero hour sessionals.Must admit they do a fantastic job.

  2. @10:19 Totally agree. The same can be said for staff in Approved Premises.
    The core of Probation have forgotten this as their work has taken them away from those they supervise and put them closer to the computer. The daily battle is now against deadlines and office politics, managing offenders is only in the job description.

  3. Hi all. Having been both a CS (in old money) supervisor for 3 years and then a PO for 17, I wouldn't necessary agree that the job of a supervisor is the most difficult, however it certainly requires a particular skill set and is very demanding. I do however agree with 10:19 - both AP's and UPW staff can only do their job safely and well knowing they have a strong support team behind them.The new structures being ushered in are dismantling this, tying up other staff in meaningless computer input and telephone reporting, taking them away from the coalface and stranding their colleagues in fragmented 'reporting centres. Divide and rule is the name of the game.

  4. Hi, as a current UPW Supervisor, i am extremely grateful to 1019 for their kind words and the other comments received. 1019 is absolutely correct about the dynamics of UPW groups and the difficulties facing Supervisors, lone working, poor facilities, lack of risk information, lack of quality projects the list is seemingly endless. Now we are faced with a job description/job title change. The system in my area does not work as it is and will only become worse with the proposed dilution of our roles.
    I personally do not want to be a Case Worker, who on earth came up with that title? I am an UPW Supervisor, it's what i do. I've spent years developing not only my 'Probation' skill set but also my practical skills that enable me to run all different types of projects, gardening, grounds clearance, painting and decorating, brick laying, dry stone walling etc etc.
    I sit here, as do many i assume, disillusioned and wondering 'when will it all end?????????

  5. Off topic, but if the MoJ can't (or wont) sort out the problems within the CJS, perhaps the courts can?
    It's a shocking indictment on this government that something like this requires the intervention of the courts at all.


  6. Also off topic (but 'topical')... Although the Tories are in the throes of ecstasy expecting an unprecedented coronation for the May Queen, who's heard from anyone other than in-reverse Treeza the Teeza? Boris made a fuck up of his Peston interview, Phil The Till is conspicuous by his silence, The Power of Numbskull (Grayling) hasn't uttered a word, Gove said something last week which has since been proven to be utter rubbish & Lizzie Dripping ain't available... is this by instruction?

  7. £150k a year of public money to shut the fuck up & keep out of sight - now THAT'S a job description!

    1. Its almost worth enduring the trauma of being a boarder at public school then eating, drinking & fornicating at Oxbridge.