MINISTERS must stop playing political games with members over pay, warned Prison Officers Association (POA) general secretary Steve Gillan in Brighton yesterday.
Speaking exclusively to the Star, Mr Gillan said he wasn’t holding his breath on rumours of a public-sector pay rise.
“Instead of leaking details to the media they should be speaking to the trade unions,” he said.
He warned that the government is trying to “divide and conquer” by offering pay rises for some sectors and not others.
“Public-sector workers should not be picked off one by one, they should be paid an appropriate living wage,” he said.
And he said there is a need for more co-ordinated action to break the cap.
“No one union will win the battle on its own. Collective action will scrap the pay cap — not just in the public sector but the private sector as well,” he said.
“The prison service has lost £900 million over the past seven years. With 86,000 prisoners being served by less staff than when there were 43,000 in prison, it’s no wonder the prison service is in crisis,” he said.
“POA members are at rock bottom. They work additional and excessive hours not because they want to but out of necessity.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said that, in fighting the government, “we stand together or we fall together.” He was moving the motion on public-sector pay which commits the TUC to a series of marches and other events across the country while continuing to lobby the government.
“If that fails, joint ballots for industrial action,” he bellowed. “It is time for our movement to make history, to fight injustice and to fight for fair pay.”