Probation workers vote to strike over controversial privatisation reforms (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Probation workers vote to strike over controversial privatisation reforms
PROBATION officers have voted in favour of a strike and further industrial action in protest to the Government’s controversial plans to privatise offender management.
The National Association of Probation Officers (Napo) made the announcement today (Friday, October 18) at its 101st annual general meeting in Llandudno in Wales.
Ian Lawrence, the union’s general secretary, revealed 84 per cent of members had voted in favour of industrial action.
The vote was in response to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s proposals to privatise 70 per cent of the probations service.
A package of £450m-worth of contracts has been offered to private and voluntary sector organisations, covering the supervision of 225,000 low and medium-risk offenders each year on a payment-by-results basis.
Napo believes the reforms would pose a serious threat to public safety and earlier this month probation workers from across the country gathered in London to lobby the Government.
Mike Quinn, from the Northumbria branch of Napo, said "Strike action is not taken lightly by Napo members, and this is only the third time that such action had been taken in our history of over 100 years.
“But we believe it is our duty to stand up and protect our well performing service, a service which the Ministry of Justice itself describes as ‘outstanding’.”
Mr Quinn, who lives in East Durham, added: "We believe that these plans represent not only an ideological attack on a well performing service, but a dangerous risk to public safety."
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