Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/795/18019
More action needed to defend Probation Service
Probation worker in Unison
I recently attended a Unison seminar regarding the government's proposals around the probation service.
I was very glad to hear my union was doing something as prior to this, Unison had held a 'lunchtime protest' in solidarity with Napo members in my local Probation Service office. I found a beleaguered workforce there lacking confidence.
Some had asked why Unison had not taken the same action as Napo. I could not answer them and felt anger towards my union.
Shortly after the protest, Napo called their strike so I went to the same office to show solidarity. I found a completely different workforce. They came out confidently waving flags and banners with much enthusiasm.
So when Unison publicised the seminar, I believed Unison had listened and were now organising for action. How wrong I was!
The first part of the day outlined what risks the government proposals have for the public and service users.
They are truly shocking and highlighted the need for action.
The Unison officials explained that they had balloted Probation Service members asking if they were willing to take action 'up to and including strike action?'
The overwhelming response was 'yes' (80%) on what Unison said was a very high number of votes cast for a ballot.
But no action was taken from the ballot because we were told: "We have to be realistic about what we can achieve."
The whole experience has highlighted to me how essential it is to reclaim my union for workers and the public who rely on our services.
I encourage all union members to get active within their unions to ensure they are representing their members fully and acting in their interests alone. I know I will!
In The Socialist 22 January 2014:
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