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107 | 09.10.2018


The National Executive Committee must be clear when we send out communications to members affected by proposed changes from the employer and Government.

Under the terms of the permanent injunction, the POA must be careful to avoid doing anything which could be construed as encouraging or inducing members not to work normally, volunteer for duties they are trained in or act as a collective to ensure they are not in contravention of the terms of the injunction, and contempt of court.

The NEC has recently been engaged in consultation with the employer on several issues including the above. The NEC has always maintained that these proposals were unilateral changes to your terms and conditions and as such collective bargaining and negotiation must take place. Despite our best efforts to persuade the employer to engage in negotiation Phil Copple wrote to the NEC and refused our request. To protect your terms and conditions and prevent members suffering further erosion to their pay, conditions and right to work in a safe place, we instructed our legal advisors to send a Pre-Action Protocol Letter (PAPL) as part of the Judicial Review Process. Members will be aware that we have issued several PAPL’s and been successful in all of them to-date.

Why is the NEC opposed to the proposals?

Despite continuing to sit around the table with HMPPS they have betrayed us all by announcing that they intend to announce the introduction of the above roles starting with the YCS policy/proposals, even though these negotiations are far from complete.

The Policy will force all members working in this area to pass a UNITAS qualification or be forced to transfer to another prison affecting their lives and that of their family.

All staff will have to transfer into F&S.

The ramifications for staff in closed grades under the Code of Discipline PSI 6/2010, Attendance Management 1/2017, future pay and promotion, provision of bulletin 8, 42/97 OSG Agreement and Fitness Testing, are some of the unanswered questions.

This is a smoke and mirror exercise to save money and force members to change terms and conditions in an attempt to divide the membership and workforce. Once you sign up to this offer there is no turning back and little or no legal protections.
The NEC can’t enter a National dispute, but we are in dispute with HMPPS because we consider that HMPPS is under a legal obligation to enter collective bargaining negotiations with the POA. We should seek to reach agreement before new roles or terms and conditions of employment are introduced.

You should also have the right to have your say through the democratic process via a workplace ballot. This has been denied by HMPPS.

The NEC has not reached an agreement or a final position to allow you the members and employees to have your say. This is disgraceful and a total betrayal of trust.

It is obviously a coincidence that the Minister and HMPPS want to engage in negotiations when they need you and or the POA NEC.

The NEC has instructed our legal team to challenge these deplorable decisions of HMPPS and or the Minister. However, for the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, the NEC is simply providing information and latest position to members.

The POA’s clear position is that members are free to decide for themselves whether they wish to express an interest in or otherwise apply for the new roles. You should seriously consider your options after thoroughly viewing the POA factual position.

Currently, the APO role and new ACH policies are not being announced, but our criticisms of the use of a consultation process rather than engaging in collective bargaining negotiations are equally applicable.

The NEC advise all local POA committees to hold branch meetings in their own time to maximise the circulation of this information. These meetings should take place each morning before the official start time for staff and staff must be at the gate for their start time. This should be repeated every lunch time to ensure members are updated of these proposals.

Please draw the contents of this circular to your members as a matter of urgency.

Further correspondence will be promulgated in due course.

Yours sincerely


Mark Fairhurst
National Chair


Yours sincerely


Steve Gillan
General Secretary