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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 October 2013

Probation workers strike against privatisation

Chas Berry, Chair, Kent National Association of Probation Officers ( Napo)

As probation workers prepare to strike on 5 and 6 November, confidence is growing that privatisation can be defeated.

Pressure is mounting on Justice Secretary Chris Grayling that plans to transfer most work to private companies by October next year are beginning to unravel. Industrial action by Napo now threatens to bring them to a grinding halt.

When Grayling launched his so-called Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) agenda in May it was with the swagger of a man who thought he could ride roughshod over parliament, probation workers and all professional opinion.

Invoking powers introduced by New Labour in 2007 he expected to dissolve the probation service by edict with little opposition.

He now faces an almost 'perfect storm' of Parliamentary revolt, industrial militancy and a possible judicial review over his abuse of power.

On top of this, two of his largest potential bidders, Serco and G4S, are in crisis after the resignation of senior staff over fraud allegations.

A groundswell of opinion is beginning to form against Grayling, and his Offender Rehabilitation Bill is expected to receive a rough ride through its second Commons reading.

We cannot rely on Westminster to safeguard our future, however, and to its credit Napo recognises that its members will play the key role in deciding whether probation remains as a fully integrated public service.

The strike takes place over two days in the same week that postal workers and firefighters take action and at the same time as expected nationwide protests against austerity. Prison officers may also show their support through unofficial protests.

All this will have a deep impact upon the consciousness of probation workers, most of whom have never taken industrial action before or been involved in political struggle.

Images of Grayling dressed as Guy Fawkes are circulating widely and a number of effigies are expected to go up in smoke overnight. On 5 November many will question who the real criminals in our society are.

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In The Socialist 30 October 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Striking back!

Trade unions must learn lessons from Grangemouth setback

Ongoing US spying row reveals new tensions between imperialist powers

Stop rip-off energy prices

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Brazil: "Rio, a showcase for the world"

Ireland: Victimising the vulnerable


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Zero-hour contracts can be beaten!

Mental health services - fighting privatisation in Salford

Building the fightback - building the Socialist Party

Support the Socialism 2013 appeal


Socialist Party feature

20 years of privatised train robbery


Socialist Party workplace news

Teachers: no national action this term

University workers fight back

Probation workers strike against privatisation

No offshoring Shared Services!

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party NHS campaigning

Bail out hospitals, not bankers!

Waltham Forest Unison Health meeting

Campaign launched against downbanding in Swindon

Attacks on NHS pay will damage services


Readers' reviews and comments

Sexism in the music industry exposed

TV Review: Brand new revolution?


 

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