Wednesday, August 29, 2007

UK - Prison strike ends with little disruption

Prison staff enjoy the sunshine outside Chelmsford Prison in Essex

Thousands of prison officers defied a High Court injunction and refused to end their national strike over a pay dispute today. All 129 of Britain’s prisons were affected by the wildcat strike. They later returned to work as the government threatened to arrest union leader and sequestrate funds.
The surprise walkout by members of the Prison Officers' Association (POA) in England and Wales began at 0700 BST on Wednesday 29 August. The action came after it pulled out of a no-strike agreement with government concerning pay and conditions. The government denied it had failed to address concerns about pay and falling morale.
John Hancock, one of the union leaders, said they would return to work after it was agreed that the government would hold “meaningful discussions” with the POA. Earlier Jack Straw, Britain’s Justice Secretary, said the strike was “illegal and unjustified” and a High Court injunction against the strikers. But after negotiation the strike was abandoned on Wednesday evening. General Secretary of the POA, Brian Caton, told BBC News 24: "After a day of what we describe as somewhat traumatic times in the history of the union, we will lead our membership back to work and we will do that in an orderly fashion and that is regardless of any court injunction."

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