Prison staff strike action
STRIKE action was expected to be taken by staff at Hollesley Bay and Highpoint prisons today as part of a 24-hour demonstration over a pay dispute.Thousands of electricians, plumbers, cooks and gardeners were due to join the protest at an imposed one per cent pay rise which they had rejected in a ballot.
STRIKE action was expected to be taken by staff at Hollesley Bay and Highpoint prisons today as part of a 24-hour demonstration over a pay dispute.
Thousands of electricians, plumbers, cooks and gardeners were due to join the protest at an imposed one per cent pay rise which they had rejected in a ballot.
The strike, which began at 6am, is the first by the group of workers in 25 years and was hitting prisons across England.
Members of four trade unions - Amicus, the Trade and General Workers Union, Ucatt and GMB - were involved.
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Amicus national officer John Allott, said: "This is a sad day for our members who feel they have been left with no alternative but to take strike action.
"This is the first time in 25 years that industrial staff in the prison service have been involved in a strike but they have taken this action as a last resort to win the real terms pay increase they deserve.
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"I am now calling for an urgent meeting with Paul Goggins, Home Office Minister for Prisons to try and get the Prison Service back to the negotiating table to reach a realistic settlement for our members."
George Brumwell, general secretary of Ucatt, said: "Our members are highly skilled craft workers who undertake their work in stressful and potentially dangerous conditions.
"We consider the offer of 1pc on basic pay a derisory and insulting offer, especially when you consider settlements for other prison service grades were at the same time averaging around 2.8pc."
A spokesman for the prison service said: "We've been informed that industrial action will take place today. Prison governors have appropriate contingency plans in place.
"It's expected that there will be minimal disruption. We are talking about small numbers on a one-day strike."