POA Circulars

106 | 21.08.2012

Ballot of OSGs Subject to TUPE transfer to MITIE

At Annual Conference in May 2012, delegates from every establishment considered the decision of the Executive to ballot for industrial action those OSGs who will/may be affected following the decision of NOMS to enter into a partnership agreement with MITIE.  Conference ratified the decision of the NEC.

As you know 9 establishments are involved in this round of competition and as a result OSGs from these prisons may be affected.  Currently s.127 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, as amended in 2008, does not prevent the union from balloting OSGs under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act (“TULRCA”) 1992.

In order for the industrial action to be lawful it must be taken “in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute”. A trade dispute is defined as “a dispute between workers and their employer which relates wholly or mainly” to one or more of a number of specified matters in s.244 of TULR(C)A.

The Executive has instructed Counsel to consider this issue along with the implications should it prove necessary to ballot any affected OSG. We are now in receipt of Counsel’s advice and he has advised the Executive that any ballot should not be progressed until such time as an announcement has been made regarding the outcome of the tender process.  To do so before the announcement may leave the POA vulnerable to unnecessary legal challenges.

As you know the original competition timetable has been delayed and it is now anticipated that any announcement will be made in late September/early October 2012.

Will you please draw the contents of this circular to the attention of all members.  I would also like to take this opportunity to remind the committees of the 9 branches involved of the need to ensure that the details of their OSG members, including addresses, work place and work categories are up to date. 

I would also request that every branch in England and Wales ensures that they also have an up to date register for Operational Support Grade members.

Thanking you for your assistance with this matter.


Yours sincerely



General Secretary