Thursday, 8 May 2008

Jack Straw - Are the government rigging prison strikes?

I would not want be in Jack Straw shoes this morning as he faces the POA (Prison Officers' Association) at their annual conference. Not only are they angry over this year's 2.2% pay deal - they are also worried that the government are trying to induce industrial action. That sounds a little strange doesn't it? - Why would the government want Prison Officers to strike? Well the POA believe that a recent dispute at HMP Lindholme involving the suspension of some of their staff, could have been engineered to validate the reintroduction of anti-trade union legislation. The following is taken from a POA press release:

The leaders of the POA are concerned that the Government, Ministry of Justice and Prison Service have engineered this dispute [HMP Lindholme] in an attempt to justify the reintroduction of Section 127 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 through the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill along with and the recent amendment which was placed before the House of Lords on 30th April 2008. It is morally wrong that individuals should be used as scapegoats to justify the Governments actions in reintroducing anti-trade union legislation.
The 300 Delegates attending the conference voted on Tuesday to work to rule, including turning up to work at the exact start of a shift rather than earlier to change into uniforms. The work to rule will take affect by the end of the week.

Could this be true? Could the government really be devious enough to deliberately cause Prison Officers to strike? I'll leave that to your own judgement. Personally I don't think it is beyond the realms of possibility.

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