Probation workers in St Austell, Truro and Camborne strike
Probation staff from centres in St Austell, Camborne and Truro are staging a 24 hour walkout tomorrow in outrage at Government plans to privatise the service.
Workers will begin the strike at noon in what is only the fourth time in 106 years that staff in the Probation Service have walked out.
Napo, the trade union for Probation and Family Court staff, balloted for strike action to make a stand in early October.
Members voted overwhelmingly for strike action in protest against Secretary of State’s Chris Grayling’s plans to privatise 70 per cent of the Probation Service.
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Ian Lawrence, Napo general secretary, said: “We strongly believe, along with other criminal justice agencies and experts that Chris Grayling’s plans will undermine public protection and put communities at risk whilst also not providing the service offenders need to turn their lives around.”
South West branch official Richard Wakley said: "The Government is acting recklessly with the safety of the public. Chris Grayling’s untested plans will increase the likelihood of creating more victims in our community.”
He said the plans had prompted alarm and growing concern about the two main companies likely to bid for the service, Serco and G4S who are currently being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office .
“ The changes will result in offenders in Devon and Cornwall, who have been convicted of robbery, domestic violence and other violent offences, being supervised by private companies who have little experience working with offenders and whose first concern is making a profit.
“If the proposals go ahead local partnerships critical to offender rehabilitation will be threatened and increase in local crime levels are expected to rise”, he added.
Last week three Probation Trust chairs wrote to Chris Grayling to voice their concerns about his plans and the possible risk of harm to the public if they go ahead.
Gillian Wilmott, the Chair of Derbyshire Probation Trust, spelled out her fears that the fragmentation of the Probation Service would lead to an increase in preventable serious attacks and deaths.