“Plaster over a gaping wound” – POA responds to “divisive” pay rise

prison-barsThe POA has described as “plaster over a gaping wound” plans to give a pay rise to prison officers.

The government announced thousands of prison officers in jails in London and South East England would receive rise of up to £5,000 in a bid to recruit more staff.

POA general secretary Steve Gillan last year told union-news.co.uk that low pay and staff cuts were behind the UK’s prison crisis.

A statement from the union said: “The union’s position has for a long time been that pay should be set at a national level for staff. The latest attempt at placing a plaster over a gaping wound has been announced. This decision will not solve the recruitment and retention issue, nor bring about operational stability in a prison system that is in meltdown.

“Whilst any additional pay for our members is welcome the latest policy decision direct from the Secretary of State sees another divisive decision on pay, which will enrage many who are left unaffected by this latest announcement.

“The decision to uplift pay for staff only at 31 sites identified as Amber or Red who are either new prison officer recruits or are on F&S pay scales has been poorly thought out and ignores many other grades of staff including closed grade prison officers, OSGs and junior managers.

“The decision also ignores that the same crisis situation that is consuming the public-sector prison estate is also affecting those working within the private sector, secure hospitals and other secure custodial environments, and more intervention must occur to recognise these shortcomings also.

“The government, has once again failed to consult with the POA properly on matters that affect our membership and whilst the POA duly accepts that F&S grade staff are underpaid for doing the same job as their closed grade colleagues and similarly that those living in high cost areas are not being paid a sufficient local pay allowance that is applicable to all staff grades at that Establishment, this needs to be done through negotiation with this trade union.

“The union would welcome dialogue with ministers to re-open closed grade pay scales assimilating those on F&S contracts into those closed grades and increasing pay across the board to end this divisive and destructive pay policy once and for all.”

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