Protest by prison staff over violence and safety concerns called off after government seeks court injunction

General secretary of Prison Officers Association says he is 'confident a deal is a deal' after prison service 'backed down' over seeking injunction against walk-out

May Bulman
Friday 14 September 2018 14:31
Staff strike at Wandsworth Prison London on 14 September
Staff strike at Wandsworth Prison London on 14 September

A protest by prison staff over violence and safety concerns has been called off by their union following an agreement with prisons minister Rory Stewart.

The Prison Officers Association (POA) ordered its members to demonstrate outside prisons in England and Wales from 7am over “unprecedented” levels of violence.

The union decided to take industrial action after the government was issued an official warning on Thursday over the deteriorating jails for the fourth time in nine months.

But members of the POA were told to return to work by 1pm following an agreement with prisons minister.

General secretary Steve Gillan said he was “confident a deal is a deal” after the prison service “backed down” over seeking an injunction against the walk-out.

He said the union would meet with the prison service on Monday.

POA members were accused of “unlawful” action after they began demonstrating outside prisons in England and Wales from 7am.

The action had knock-on effects on court cases, with some defendants in custody unable to be transported to hearings.

Mr Gillan told the Press Association: “I'm pleased with the outcome. Well, in actual fact I'm saddened we had to do it in the first place. But now we hope for meaningful, constructive dialogue commencing on Monday.”

Thousands of prison staff took part in the demonstrations, the POA said.

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