Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Solidarity with the Prison Officers Association

I was pleased to read the news that members of the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) have voted to strike – in spite of the refusal of the New Labour Government to restore their right to strike, which was removed by the Tories. I read this this morning in the Morning Star.

With only a handful of votes left to be counted, nearly 15,000 members have backed action and 2,400 voted against. The union has described the dispute as being over the independence of the pay review body and claims its members have seen a pay cut. According to the BBC, the Prison Service said it was a matter of grave concern that the POA might act in breach of a legally-binding accord.

I think it is a matter of grave concern that our Labour Government hasn’t fully restored the democratic rights of trade unionists which were taken from them – and which Labour was pledged to restore when in opposition.

The threat of legal action against the POA if they carry out the wishes of their members is a good indication of why we need the Trade Union Freedom Bill, in line with UNISON policy.

I hope UNISON, and other unions, will show solidarity with the POA.

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