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Court staff in privatisation protest
4:30pm Tuesday 5th February 2013 in Local
COURT staff protested outside a county magistrates court against plans to privatise their work.
The Public and Commercial Service Union (PCS) members held placards up as part of a demonstration against the proposed privatisation of court enforcement.
The court’s staff deal with cases from across the county, including Redditch, Droitwich and Bromsgrove.
The proposal would put the collection and enforcement of fines into the hands of private companies, but the PCS fears it could lead to job losses and cuts to pay and working conditions.
About 12 court fines workers from the court’s criminal enforcement collection centre turned out for the rally in Kidderminster on Thursday, (January 31).
The union wants to keep control of the enforcement of fines in the hands of HM Courts and Tribunals Service, with court staff working alongside the judiciary to ensure the money is paid when it should be.
They fear the public service could be under threat of much lower collection rates by private bailiffs and cherry-picking of easier-to-collect cases by private companies.
Kevin Greenway, a court worker and national executive member of PCS, said: “This is specifically about the privatisation of the collection of fines.
“We feel it’s entirely morally wrong. It’s not in the public interest to have private companies collecting fines.
“The people who collect fines in the private sector are not trained like staff in the courts.
“Cost of living soaring means low-paid workers face having their pay and conditions cut. Unaccountability of private bailiffs and threats to personal data.”
The walkout was part of the first in a rolling programme of industrial action.
The court’s staff also rallied against the privatisation plans last year.