Prison officers’ leaders have expressed “outrage” over a 0% pay offer for most prison staff in England and Wales – with one senior member of the Prison Officers Association (POA) telling the national prisons newspaper Converse that it was “one of the worst years in the recorded history of prisons.”
PJ McParlin, the POA National Chairman, told Converse: “In one of the worst years in recorded history in prisons for staff and prisoners, these incompetents want to rub our noses in it.
“As you know we are held hostage by the legislation with the Pay Review Body as a supposedly compensatory mechanism.
“Yet with a four per cent consolidated plus one per cent non consolidated for managers – you can imagine the reaction.”
The POA said its executive will hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss its next move, warning it was ruling nothing out in its response.
The General Secretary of the POA, Steve Gillan told prisons newspaper Converse that the meeting was to urgently discuss the whole report “and to determine if there are potential legal challenges”.
Mark Leech, editor of Converse said: “I’ve long criticised the POA for taking strike action but when they are hit with an effective pay cut like this, by a supposedly independent pay body that seems to be in cahoots with the Government, and with literally no where to go to record their protests, you have to ask yourself could they really be blamed for walking out?”
The union submitted a claim for a 5% rise to make up for pay standing still in most years since the coalition came to power, but said a pay review body had decided that four out of five prison officers will receive no increase.
Steve Gillan, general secretary of the POA, told the Press Association: “It is absolutely shocking that prison officers are being treated like this.
“We were given a pay review body as compensation for losing the right to strike – but it is just a puppet of the Government and we have absolutely no confidence in them.”
Mr Gillan pointed out that health workers had received a pay rise after taking industrial action.
The union said morale was at an all-time low in the Prison Service.
Prisons Minister Andrew Selous said: “Staff should be in no doubt how highly I value the hard work that they put in every single day. That is why we have introduced major organisational changes that have saved taxpayers money and ultimately ensured key jobs have stayed in the public sector.
“Our reforms have helped to save £300 million per year from 2015-16 – protecting existing jobs and creating new ones by ensuring that HMPS will run the new prison in North Wales.
“The independent Prison Service Pay Review Body has recognised that significant pay reform is an important part of delivering these savings and we have accepted the recommendations in full.”