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It is vitally important that all POA members fully understand the contents of the Permanent Injunction against the POA which was circulated previously. Please read this Circular in conjunction with POA Circular 98/2017 which is attached.
The reason that I am circulating the main contents again is simply to protect the POA and individuals. Your respective employers’ read everything that is put on social media whether Twitter or Facebook or any other forum. Whist some people use anonymous accounts thinking they cannot be identified they are placing themselves in jeopardy under the Permanent Injunction because if I can identify individuals easily then I am sure the employer can.
I have seen recent postings from some inciting industrial action and strike action and encouraging others to withdraw from payment plus and other duties. Only an individual can choose not to do voluntary duties no one can induce anyone else to do so and by doing so you are placing potentially the POA and yourself in breach of the Injunction.
It may well be that the individuals that are posting are not even POA members so do not be encouraged by those posts as they may have an ulterior motive.
For the avoidance of doubt the relevant parts of the injunction are:
The Judge granted the following final Injunction “That the POA whether by any agent or committee, official or officer, including for the ‘avoidance of doubt’ any committee, official, officer or any meeting of any local branch or otherwise be restrained from inducing, authorising or supporting any form of industrial action by any Prison Officer’ and then it sets out the criteria.
The ‘Order’ also states “It is contempt of court for any person notified of the order knowingly to assist in or permit a breach of this Order. Any person doing so may be sent to prison, fined or have his assets seized.”
This is a far-reaching Injunction which is permanent, and I don’t think I can make myself any clearer to those individuals who think they can place anything they want on social media. Time and time again we have put circulars out reminding individuals of their responsibilities and we have addressed the issue at various annual conferences regarding inappropriate use of social media. Please make sure this circular is brought to the attention of all members.
I fully understand that emotions are running high about the cost-of-living crisis and the fact many are not content with the pay award announcement. The NEC will consider our response to the pay award at its meeting on 27th July 2022 and further information will be put out to the membership after that meeting.
The draconian legislation of the restrictions on POA members has been challenged through the courts at every opportunity and we will continue to challenge when the opportunity arises, and our campaign goes on to repeal the anti-union laws. Where we can take legitimate action where sections of our members are not restricted by the Criminal Justice Public Order Act 1994 Section 127 such as our Health workers in the Secure Hospitals, Operational Support Grades and our members in Scotland where restrictions were removed by the Scottish Government in respect of the right to strike then we will consult those sections of members on any legitimate dispute that they have relating to them.
It is imperative that our members understand the terms of the permanent injunction and I urge every member to familiarise themselves if they have not already done so. A copy of this should be circulated to every POA member by local committees. If necessary, call branch meetings and have face to face meetings with the membership
I thank you for your understanding on this issue.
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Representing over 30,000 Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, the POA is the largest UK Union in this sector, able to trace its roots back more than 100 years.