General Secretary

October 2010 | 18.10.2010

All Together Against the Cuts

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At every opportunity as your General Secretary, I have condemned the cuts as declared by this Coalition Government. I have stood on platforms and at fringe meetings opposing these savage cuts to all our Public Services.

The cuts being proposed to prisons will make the Prison Officer job impossible and place collectively our Health and Safety in danger, along with those who are in our care. I doubt our Managers will think for our safety, they will be the ones who will comply with and drive through the decisions on budget cuts made far away in NOMS Headquarters or Area Offices. These decisions made in ivory towers are far from the reality of the Front Line, which may well place POA members in direct danger.

The POA have adequate policies in place to combat these dangers to your Health and Safety and if the employer in your respective establishments ignore safety issues, then matters to protect you will inevitably be taken into our own hands to ensure no injuries are sustained. Safe Systems of Work and Risk Assessments are imperative and each individual at the workplace has a responsibility along with the employer to ensure safety for yourself and your colleagues.

You also have the absolute right to see your Safe Systems of Work and Risk Assessments.

The Coalition Government argument that we are all in this together is ridiculous. The fiscal deficit was not caused by Public Sector Workers, it was caused by the reckless actions of bankers and speculators who gambled with our money, and lost.

They are still receiving big bonuses whilst the vulnerable and low paid are suffering under threats to their jobs and their futures.

Most POA members would agree that Politicians of all parties have let us down, with broken promises and lack of investment. The modern day Prison Officer, OSG’s and other front line staff in our prisons, and our colleagues working in the Special Hospitals are treated with disrespect on a daily basis, not only by those we are expected to care for, but by those who set the criteria and funding with which that care is to be provided.

I urge all POA members not to accept the assertions from management that “these cuts are inevitable.” There is an alternative, but this Government appear to have a pathological hatred of Public Sector Workers.

The time has arrived for all of our members to resist these cuts, to become more involved locally and to fight to secure your positions. The Trade Union movement has declared its opposition to the cuts; and every member needs to start playing an active part by writing to your MP and requesting answers on their position to the Governments planned programme of cuts.

Local Branches should get involved with other Trades Unions wherever possible and build alliances to further the campaign. They should also become active within their local Trades Councils.

The Comprehensive Spending Review, expected on 20th October 2010 will enlighten us as to what lies ahead over the next 4 years. Suggested cuts of 25% are just not sustainable.  

The TUC are co-ordinating a Rally and Lobby of Parliament on the 19th October at the Methodist Hall in Westminster. I would urge as many POA members to attend as possible.  

Having attended the TUC, there is a feeling that we are in this fight together and we can achieve our goal of defeating these cuts. Unions are coming together, which of course will be necessary to take on the draconian right wing cuts being proposed by the Coalition Government. 

Unity is Strength.

 

Steve Gillan
General Secretary