§ Sir Ivan Lawrence
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he now intends to take following the injunction he obtained against the calling of industrial action by the Prison Officers Association.
§ Mr. Howard
On 18 November the High Court issued an interim injunction requiring the general secretary of the Prison Officers Association to call off its planned industrial action which would have resulted in some 1,700 prisoners being held in police cells. The court made it clear that the calling of industrial action by the POA was unlawful.
I recognise that matters cannot be left there. I intend to introduce legislation this Session which, while maintaining the position that it is unlawful for the POA to call industrial action, also extends normal trade union status to organisations representing staff who currently have the powers of a constable.
The legislation will also extend to prison officers the appropriate elements of employment protection legislation, including access to industrial tribunals, and enable regulations to be made to establish procedures for setting the remuneration of the staff concerned. There will need to be discussions with the POA and others about those provisions.
These measures will provide a much needed and firm foundation for the development of constructive industrial relations in the special context of the Prison Service.