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Youth Work: Professionals Valued

JULY 18, 2018

A research report on the future of the JNC collective bargaining agreement for youth and community workers by Unite the Union.

Unite is proud to lead the campaign to protect our youth and community services. They play a vital role in supporting young people, families and communities in the most disadvantaged areas. Ideological government cuts have decimated the service and left many young people and communities without the support
and contact that youth services offer.

Alongside these devastating cuts, youth workers have simultaneously faced attacks on their very profession itself. Service redesign, marketisation, deskilling and attempts to abolish the youth worker professional standards underpinned by national terms and conditions.

This research, exploring the potential impact of the loss of the Joint Negotiating Committee for Youth and Community Workers (the JNC) confirms our fears that the imposition of austerity measures has devastated the sector.

But there is also an underlying message of hope for the JNC. Despite the threats it faces, the majority of our respondents do value this collective bargaining agreement. This is not because of sentimentality, nostalgia, or resistance to change but because pragmatically, it benefits youth and community work to be delivered in framework which interlinks professional qualifications; a set of fit-for-purpose terms and conditions and collectively negotiated national pay scales.

The JNC is seen as the recognised benchmark of the profession and many argue that it is integral to the identity of youth and community work and to their practice.

Despite recent changes, the JNC is seen as the best fit for the work. Unite knows it is important not just to retain the JNC, but to fight for its implementation throughout the sector. We at Unite are up for that fight.

Len McCluskey,
General Secretary, Unite the Union

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