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Prison Officers who protected the general public during the pandemic and put their own lives at risk on average are getting a 4 per cent pay rise which is not even half of the rate of inflation.
The Prison Service Pay Review Body quite rightly identified “uncompetitive pay levels and serious long-running recruitment and retention problems which are putting the Prison Service in an unsustainable position that risks the stability of prisons due to inadequate staffing levels and experience”. They go on further to say that the “Prison Service is facing a crisis which will only worsen unless there is significant and immediate investment in pay to improve the competitiveness of the Prison Service’s employment package”.
Inflation is predicted to rise above 10% later in the year and this Report does nothing to address the problems that our members will face. This Pay Review Body Report amounts to real terms pay cut which will do nothing to alleviate the problems faced due to recruitment and retention. During the pandemic, those working in the Criminal Justice System were lauded as hidden heroes. These hidden heroes are being paid as paupers. There are some exceptions where the low paid receive larger increases but the PSPRB like other pay review bodies haven’t recommended rises that keep pace with inflation.
Steve Gillan, General Secretary of the POA stated:
“Once again, the Government treat our members with disdain. Our members work in the most hostile environment in Western Europe, and this is how they are recognised. We were correct to give evidence to the Pay Review Body and at least they rejected HMPPS/ Government evidence, but the recommendations are not nearly enough to make up for the last 12 years of constant cuts to pay by this Government. We are already aware of Foodbanks in Prisons for the benefit of staff. I can see the demand for these increasing. The POA know this pay rise will do little to arrest people leaving the service simply because they are having to choose between putting food on the table or fuel in the car to get to work. A crisis of the Government’s own making”
Mark Fairhurst, National Chair of the POA stated:
“Victoria Atkins, the previous Prisons Minister and Phil Copple, the Director General of Prisons, addressed our Annual Conference in May this year and both promised a significant pay rise for Prison Officers. This is not a significant pay rise and will push our members further into financial difficulty. They are either sadly out of touch or they do not care about our members, their employees. This Report just does not touch the edges of the cost-of-living crisis and once again our members are facing real terms pay cut. The Executive will be considering the POA response in the next couple of days.”
For further information, contact:
POA Press Office 020 8803 0255 Option 7
Notes for editors:
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.