Britain’s biggest union, Unite, will be part of a joint lobby outside the offices of the Local Government Association (LGA) in central London on Thursday (3 March) to drive home the importance of protecting youth workers’ pay, terms and conditions in the ‘pink book.’
WHEN: Thursday 3 March, 12.45 to 14.15
WHERE: Local Government Association (LGA) head office Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ
The lobby comes in the wake of underhand proposals by LGA employers to tear up the JNC agreement -Joint Negotiating Committee for youth and community workers – and replace it with the NJC (National Joint Council for local government services) ‘green book's' terms and conditions for local government workers, without the consent of the staff side unions.
Unite, which represents thousands of youth, community and play worker members, fears that abolishing the ‘pink book’ will undermine the pay, terms and conditions and the professional standing of youth workers, effectively de-skilling youth and community workers.
The staff side unions, including Unite, Unison, NUT and UCU are urging youth workers to come along and make their voices heard.
Unite national officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said “The long standing ‘pink book’ recognises the professional qualifications of youth and community workers and ensures that workers are paid fairly for the job they are professionally trained to do. If it goes, youth work as a profession disappears with it.
“Serious questions need to be asked over the employers' motives for tearing up the 'pink book'. We fear that it will lead to a spiral of decline in services for young people and is a step towards the de-professionalisation of youth and community workers.
“Youth services are seen as a soft target for budget cuts. Abolishing the ‘pink book’ will in no way be in the best interests of vulnerable young people and the highly skilled professionals trained to protect them.
“Now we need youth and community workers to stand up and defend their profession. Youth work has a proud tradition in this country, stretching back many decades. Our youth worker members provide very necessary, cost-effective services for young people living in poverty, fighting addiction or struggling with housing problems or finding work.
“By helping young people early, these services protect them from more costly interventions like mental health services and social services. In the long run it saves the tax payer money.
“On Thursday we will lobbying the employers to drive home the importance of protecting JNC pay, terms and conditions. We are urging youth and community workers to come along and make their voice heard.”
The JNC is a unique collective bargaining body that has been central to the growth of youth services and the development of youth work since 1961. It includes extra annual leave entitlement in recognition of the stressful and unsocial hours associated with youth work.
Around 75 per cent of local authority and voluntary sector employers still apply JNC terms and conditions.
For more information please contact, Unite campaigns officer
Note to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.