22/11/2019 - Prison Officers await contempt judgment

POA logoThe POA (the professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers) is awaiting judgment on whether they are guilty of contempt following last year’s walk-out over prison violence.

The union, which is banned from taking strike action by the government, says last year’s walk-out over violence in prisons was a health and safety issue, not a strike.

The Secretary of State yesterday claimed the action – and that of POA members who in February walked out at Liverpool Prison following the sacking of a member – was in contempt of the High Court injunction preventing strike action.

After the case, POA general secretary Steve Gillan tweeted: “Contempt of Court case now a reserved judgment. I would like to go on record and thank our legal team Hugh Southey QC, Matrix Chamber, Stuart Brittenden QC Old Square Chamber, and Thompsons Sols. It has been a lot of hard work but a pleasure. Reserved judgments can take several weeks and sometimes months.”

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented: "Prison officers do a difficult and dangerous job on behalf of us all. Violence in prisons is increasing for a number of reasons and it is directly affecting the health and safety of prison officers. They should be receiving backing and support not legal actions to stifle their protests about an increasingly intolerable situation."