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Ministry of Justice : Stop this privatisation scandal!
Michael Gove, Tory hatchet man and Minister for 'Justice', last seen terrorising the education system, is now at the centre of the looming privatisation of court fine collection. Aggressive American outsourcing giant Concentrix is currently the only bidder for the £675 million contract, work currently undertaken in-house by the National Compliance Enforcement Service (NCES).
The contract involves chasing those who are struggling to pay the criminal courts charge, a set charge imposed on all convicts, regardless of means. It penalises the poor, who are pressured into pleading guilty as the fee can be up to ten times higher if convicted after pleading not guilty.
No other company is bidding for this contract as, unsurprisingly, chasing poor people for money does not bring big returns.
For MoJ employees like myself the reality will be the replacement of permanent jobs with low-wage temporary positions and aggressive target-driven management so that Concentrix can boost their profits at the expense of workers.
Concentrix already has a poor public sector record in HMRC, where they sent speculative letters to thousands on low incomes accusing them of tax credit fraud.
Clearly nothing has been learned from the disaster of the Serco and G4S tagging contracts or reckless privatisation of probation services. These failures not only put people at risk but cost the public millions and resulted in little-to-no recourse.
The priorities of capitalist politicians are blatant. They chase and imprison the poor for money they don't have, but let fraudster bankers and tax-evading companies run rampant - without criminal charges or attempts to recoup the billions they have stolen from the public.
The PCS civil service union had success last year in fending off privatisation in Land Registry. Disability demonstrators over work assessment and PCS workers in Department for Work and Pensions also forced infamous Atos into dropping its government contract.
If MoJ workers in PCS, alongside probation workers in NAPO and legal advisors in the Criminal Bar Association take action together, we could make this contract so unappealing that Concentrix drops it, leaving no other bidder. We can stop privatisation.
In The Socialist 16 September 2015:
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