Probation staff set to go on strike

PROBATION staff are set to go on strike in West Sussex today (November 5), in protest at plans to outsource the majority of the service.

More than 200 staff from the Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust will go on strike in protest against government plans to outsource 70 per cent of probation services.

Mike Rayfield, chairman of the Surrey and Sussex branch of the National Probation Service, said this was only the fourth time in the service’s 104-year history that it had taken industrial action.

“This is not a decision we take lightly but we feel we are left with little choice,” he said.

“Mr Grayling the justice secretary and MP for Epsom and Ewell Surrey is not listening to probation staff and he is pressing ahead with plans that are untried, untested and in our view unnecessary.

“Mr Grayling is proposing that probation trusts in England and Wales will be abolished and the supervision of offenders transferred to community rehabilitation companies on a payment-by-results basis by next October.

“The contracts are likely to be won by big companies such as G4S and Serco.

“A much smaller national probation service will manage high-risk offenders and public protection cases.

“These plans ignore the dynamic nature of risk which can change in hours and professionally-trained staff need to react very quickly to protect the public from harm.”

There will be a 24 hour strike starting at midday today (November 5) until midday tomorrow (November 6).

Staff will be picketing at offices and some courts.