The POA (Prison Officers Association) has condemned an injunction secured by the Tory government from judges banning its industrial action planned for yesterday.
‘The POA Executive on behalf of the membership condemn the Secretary of State for hiding behind the High Court, instead of working with the Union to alleviate the crisis that the Secretary of State and Senior Officials in the Prison Service have created.
‘The fact is the Injunction will not stop violence in our Prisons, the failed recruitment and retention policies nor all the other disturbing statistics that are now common knowledge such as the increase in riots, concerted indiscipline, self-harm, drug availability and the lack of discipline and security in our Prison System …
‘Perhaps we now have an Employer and Secretary of State that are so desperate they have reverted to a modern form of slavery.’
• As the Trade Union Act came into law yesterday, Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey announced regional dispute teams ‘to ensure that not one member will be denied the justice or support they need, as the regressive new rules impose higher thresholds for industrial action ballots and attack trade unions’ ability to campaign’.
This follows the union’s rule change to ensure that it can take action to defend members even if forced outside the law by this Act, in addition to the establishment of a £35 million strike fund to support members through disputes.
McCluskey said: ‘This is a dark day for basic rights in this country. Once again, Conservative laws are a gift to the bad bosses as they make it harder for working people to get a fair hearing. They have priced working people out of the tribunal process and now they want to intimidate their unions into inaction.
‘Well, that is not going to happen at Unite. There is no way that this union will allow a Conservative or any other government to further stack the dice against working people. Unite has already organised itself to be able to see off these attacks and to ensure that our members will be defended to the hilt when they need to be. Our rules have been changed to ensure that we can defend members even when the law has been twisted to prevent this, and our £35 million strike fund ensures that no Unite member will ever be starved back to work.’