COMPOSITE 1 – JNC PAY AND CONDITIONS AND THE DEFENCE OF YOUTH AND COMMUNITY WORK.
Conference believes that Joint Negotiating Committee for Youth and Community Workers (JNC) is the recognised national terms and conditions agreement for Professional Youth and Community workers in the Community Youth Workers and not for profit sector of Unite.
Conference therefore calls on the newly formed Regional Industrial Sector Committees to draw up a campaign to support and actively promote JNC within the public and voluntary sectors and in conjunction with the National Industrial Sector Committee to undertake research into any threats to JNC and inform members of progress in this work.
Conference notes the pressure and recognition that central Government has placed upon Youth Workers over the past year in reducing anti social behaviour, gang crime, crime in general, and reducing the numbers of those young people not in education, employment or training, using drugs and lowering teenage pregnancy rates. Conference recognises that this success is due to youth workers’ unique relationship with young people which is one of voluntary engagement with young people.
Conference further recognises that Central Government funding has not been passed down to Local Authority Youth Services but commissioned out, and in addition Local Authority and voluntary sector Services have been pressurised to provide extra services for young people on Fridays and weekends.
Conference therefore calls upon the Union to put pressure on Central Government and Local Authorities to direct funding to enable Local Authority and voluntary sector Youth Services to employ more staff and resources where they have the experience and expertise to provide cost effective services to young people.
Linked to this, this conference also notes with concern the way that Youth and Community Education and Training is moving away from being informed by progressive values, social justice and inclusive processes towards a depoliticised, narrower, competency based framework.
Conference therefore calls on the National Industrial Sector Committee to put pressure on all institutions involved in the education and training of community and youth workers in order to reverse this trend through fully supporting and promoting the “In Defence of Youth Work” campaign”.
As I have underlined in my Summary piece this is a powerful statement, bedevilled by the fact that many IN DEFENCE supporters are not on JNC pay and conditions. We need to wrestle with this dilemma in the coming months. And, whilst I may be alone, I have never been convinced by the tactic of embracing the government’s line that youth workers are significantly in the business of reducing anti-social behaviour, crime etc….. In my opinion, conceding to this agenda back in the early 90’s has played a part in the insidious undermining of our distinctive identity as informal educators. The claim in the third paragraph of the Composite that our supposed success in reducing ‘bad behaviour’ is based on our voluntary engagement with young people is to muddy the waters deeply. A dimension within the IN Defence campaign is to argue precisely that the State’s strategy of insisting upon a behavioural approach to young people has pushed youth workers more and more into prescribed, imposed relationships, the very antithesis of voluntary engagement.
Apologies – not sure why this has come out in tiny print!!