Nelson probation service workers strike

Staff at the Nelson office of the Lancashire Probation Trust during thier hour long stoppage.
Staff at the Nelson office of the Lancashire Probation Trust during thier hour long stoppage.

Staff at the probation office in Manchester Road, Nelson walked out of work for an hour on Wednesday of last week in a second day of protest at the Government’s plans to part-privatise the service.

Around 20 members, most of them members of the National Association of Probation Officers, stood outside the office with placards voicing their opposition to moves to change the way in which the service operates.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced plans to sell off parts of the service but NAPO believes the only companies with the necessary resources will be ones such as G4S and Serco which have been the subject of concern in recent years.

Chairman of the Lancashire branch of NAPO Caroline Bewley said: “While our members are worried about our jobs and terms and conditions, our main concern is about the impact on public safety and our inability to work meaningfully with resources to reduce the likelihood of offending, but more importantly the level of risk posed.

“Chris Grayling is using the short term prisoner problem, which probation trusts have no statutory obligation to work with at this time, despite actively welcoming the additional work to come to the trained and qualified staff to justify dismantling and fragmenting a service that on any one day is working with on a national level in excess of 250,000 individuals on community orders, still in custody or released on licence.”

As on the previous stoppage in September, several motorists passing the office tooted their horns as a gesture of support.