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Joint Trade Unions On Collision Course With Government Over 10 Month Delay In Prisons Workers Pay Rise

GMB hopes crisis talks on Tuesday 29th January can avoid action.

Unions lead by GMB representing 3500 industrial and maintenance workers employed in HM Prisons are on collision course with their employers having rejected a derisory pay award for 2007.

Prison bosses, delayed by government approval processes, took nearly nine months before they even made the offer which was due in April 2007. To add insult to injury they then offered a below inflation award of just 2%.

In separate consultative ballots members of the joint unions voted to reject the pay offer. The vote also gave a mandate for a strike ballot.

The latest insult to prison workers comes after bosses have imposed a series of below inflation pay rises on them in recent years. The workers who include locksmiths, carpenters, painters, bricklayers, cooks, gardeners, plumbers and electricians, are paid up to £10,000 less than private sector comparators.

The Trade Unions have invited the Prison Service to a last ditch meeting on the 29th January. If an improved offer is not forthcoming then it is likely that unions will move towards a full ballot for strike action and a work to rule.

GMB National Secretary Brian Strutton said: “This is yet another example of government treating public sector workers with contempt. These prison workers were due a pay rise last April and here we are 10 months later with government telling the prison service to stick to this stupid 2% limit. It’s economic nonsense and it’s socially unacceptable to ask workers to swallow what amounts to just short of a 3% real terms pay cut. No wonder they want to strike and they won’t be the only ones.”

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