Press Contacts

Mark Fairhurst - National Chair:
Mobile 07968 108284

Steve Gillan – General Secretary:
Mobile 07971 838590

Glyn Travis - Press Officer:
Mobile 07968 324045

POA Press Office:
020 8803 0255 Option 7

POA Press Releases

137 16 Nov 2016


During an urgent question raised by Richard Burgon MP Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, the Secretary of State for Justice Elizabeth Truss made the following statement;

“I met the Prison Officers Association on 2 November. Over the past two weeks, my team has been holding talks with the POA on a range of measures to improve safety. Those talks were due to continue this morning. Instead, the POA failed to respond to our proposals and called this unlawful action, without giving any notice.”

She further stated;

“The chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, Michael Spurr, spoke to POA chairman Mike Rolfe this morning reiterating our desire to continue talks today. That offer was refused”.

Similarly, letters issued to POA members yesterday (15.11.16) from Michael Spurr contained the following written statement;

“Our expectation was that, if the POA continued to have concerns about some of the responses, then we would meet again today, Tuesday 15 November, to discuss further.”


Following the circulation of POA Circular 97/2016 the National Chair and General Secretary met with Michael Spurr, Phil Copple and Martin Beecroft on 31st October 2016. They made it clear that Circular 97/2016 would not be withdrawn. Michael Spurr offered talks on Health & Safety and additionally with regard to reaching a reform agreement. He suggested at that meeting that all talks could be completed within two weeks and no later than 11th November 2016, if the NEC agreed to suspend the action outlined within POA Circular 97/2016. It was made clear that if the NEC agreed to suspend the Circular that all talks would be time bound and would need to be completed by the 11th November 2016 and that no alteration to the date would be allowed. This was accepted by NOMS.

Michael Spurr wrote a letter to the National Chair and General Secretary dated 31st October 2016, contained within that letter was the following;

“Talks will commence on Tuesday 1st of November with an aim to conclude all matters by Friday 11th November.”

At a special NEC meeting on 1st November 2016, the NEC agreed to suspend action and produced POA Circular 98/2016, which stated the following;

“NOMS have agreed to immediate negotiations to resolve our concerns regarding Health and Safety. These negotiations will be concluded by 11th November 2016.”


“If the talks fail to resolve matters, we will renew the call to take action as identified in POA Circular 97/2016 at a later date”.

This was followed by a letter to Martin Beecroft from Steve Gillan on 1st November 2016 which stated the following;

“Since our constructive meeting yesterday our Executive have agreed a way forward and look forward to securing agreement through negotiation by 11th November 2016”.

A Press Release was produced dated 1st November 2016 (134/2016) and contained the following statement;

“Negotiations on safety issues will now take place at national level immediately, with a view to reaching agreement by 11th November 2016”.

A second POA Circular was also produced on 1st November 2016, 99/2016 and sent out to the membership. It contained the following statement;

“We will be commencing negotiations immediately, which are time bounded until 11th November 2016”.

Following conclusion of talks on Friday 11th November 2016, NOMS sent a meeting request for 15.11.16 to the Secretary of the National Chair stating “HOLD for continued talks with the POA & NOMS”. Attendees were Phil Copple, Martin Beecroft, Francis Stuart & Andy Hewitt from NOMS & Michael Rolfe & Steve Gillan from the POA. The National Chair instructed the secretary to reject the meeting and reply stating the following;

“The deadline date was 11th November 2016.



The POA condemn Government and NOMS in their attempt to paint the POA as liars and refer them to the clear intent contained within our Circulars, which Government and NOMS used to gain injunctive relief against our protest action 15.11.16.

Mike Rolfe National Chair said;

“Liz Truss must now apologise for misleading the House of Commons and accusing the POA of walking away from the negotiating table, nothing less can be acceptable to this trade union. It is simply unacceptable to insinuate that the POA have acted in a dishonourable way”.

“NOMS Senior Management must also apologise to POA members and set the record straight with regards to the untruths circulated in an attempt to undermine this trade union. I expect Michael Spurr to do no less than write to all staff with this apology”.




For further information contact:

POA Press Office                                                                                    020 8803 0255 Option 7

ENCLOSURES FOR PR-137-16 (1).pdf

pdf, 2.5M, 16/11/16, 489 downloads