Prison officer strike over pay ends

The prison officers strike over the rejection of a staged 2.5% pay deal has come to an end after the Ministry of Justice won a court injunction.

The strike, which was led by the Prison Officers’ Association (POA), affected 130 state-run jails in England and Wales, although the prisons continued to be manned by a skeleton staff.

Prison officers voted in favour for industrial action up to and including strike action in reaction to the decision to pay a recommended 2.5% pay deal in two stages. The union argued that the deal cut the value of the award to 1.9%.

The Ministry of Justice got an injunction against the POA which could have resulted in the union’s assets being seized. The chairman of the POA later announced the strike was over.

Jack Straw, secretary of state for justice and lord chancellor, said: “The strike action by the Prison Officers’ Association is deeply regrettable and wholly unjustifiable. We have been actively trying to engage with the POA through talks and regular meetings and yet this action came without warning.”

He added that he has requested a meeting with senior officers of the POA and that the Ministry is considering what other action to take, “in respect of this unannounced and unlawful action by the POA”.