Breaking news

136 | 21.12.2018

Membership Update

Please find enclosed an update for POA members:

High Court case 10-12 December (Youth Custody Estate)

Following the High Court case between the POA and the MOJ, Mr Justice Kerr handed down judgment on 14th December 2018 rejecting the POA’s claim on behalf of its members for a declaration that HMPPS would be in breach of contract. He did however accept the POA’s argument that the proposals from the employer in relation to changes in the Youth Custody Estate, Advanced Prison Officers and Additional Contract Hours Pensionable, did constitute a change to terms and conditions. Mr Justice Kerr confirmed that the changes to job descriptions were significant and “were not merely doing the same thing in a different way.” He also stated that the proposals “may have the potential to impact on terms and conditions and, as such, were within the scope of the national disputes resolution procedure.”

Mr Justice Kerr confirmed that the terms and conditions of all Band 3-5 staff would be affected, and he therefore rejected the Secretary of State’s argument in this respect.

Due to this judgment, the POA will be engaging with HMPPS and will demand that they now address the National Dispute we had raised pre-trial in relation to these proposals, which should now progress to conciliation and ultimately arbitration. We will also be demanding that HMPPS abide by NTS16/2018 which states that changes to terms and conditions require prior negotiation.  HMPPS are clearly in breach of the spirit of this agreement even though Mr Justice Kerr rejected the claim for a declaration of breach of contract on narrow legal grounds.

I will update you further as matters progress.

OSG Ballot

In order to progress this ballot, we must comply with statutory requirements. We therefore need POA OSG members to provide us with accurate information. Without these details we are unable to progress this issue. Please remind all OSG members to abide by Branch Secretary Circular 37/2018.

PAVA

Contrary to many rumours. PAVA will be rolled out in January 2019. At a meeting held between the POA and HMPPS on the 18th December, it was confirmed that the roll out will begin in January 2019. The new personal protection package (SPEAR), will include an 8 hour training package including PAVA. Rigid cuff training will become part of the annual C&R basic refresher.

Retirement age

We continue to press this issue politically and have gained much support to reduce our retirement age to 60. We will also be re launching our campaign that’ 68 is too late.’ At a recent meeting with Secretary of State David Gauke, he confirmed that due to the rejection of a previous offer to reduce the retirement age of Prison Officers, this issue was no longer one of his priorities. I must reiterate that this issue remains a priority for me and all POA members.
Due to the success of the Fire Fighters legal challenge over changes to their pensions, the POA are now in a strong position and we will liaise with counsel to progress our case.

Rally in London 20th March 2019

We are organising a rally in London to relaunch our ‘68 is too late’ campaign and will be also launching a short video to support our case. This includes a media launch which POA members can contribute to. Guest speakers from the media and political parties will be invited to address POA members. The venue is confirmed as the Central Methodist Hall, Westminster. Please ensure you support this rally. Further details will be forwarded nearer the date.

Payment for Annual Leave

After the POA winning the Berryman case, all members should make themselves aware of POA Circular 134/2018. The employer will be reimbursing members pending Treasury approval.

Employee Health Website

The POA have been engaging with the employer on how to ensure members who are absent due to illness, injury or assault are supported. There has now been a website launched that guides staff through the sickness procedures, particularly if they have an outstanding Ill Health Retirement issue. This website can be accessed from home. Please ensure you access this valuable resource that the POA have fought for on your behalf.

hmppsemployeehealth.com

Finally, on behalf of the National Executive I would like to thank you for your continued support and take the opportunity to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Please ensure you bring the contents of this circular to your members attention.

Yours sincerely

 

MARK FAIRHURST
National Chair