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Prison officers to rally over pay and pensions

Prison workers may have to work until they are 68 to claim their pension

Members of prison officers' union POA will take part in a Westminster rally on Budget Day in protest over plans to cut their pay but make them work for longer.

Wednesday's demonstration comes as axe-mad Chancellor George Osborne sets out his latest cuts to public services.

Prison workers may have to work until they are 68 to claim their pension while seeing their pay and pensions downgraded.

A protest march through Whitehall will be taking place before the rally at Westminster's Methodist Central Hall.

POA argues that the proposed retirement age of 68 is ethically wrong, particularly given the demanding nature of the job.

"Imagine an incredulous situation of a 67-year-old female or male prison officer restraining a disturbed young bodybuilding male prison inmate," said POA delegate to the TUC women's conference Helen Ffrench.

The union is also raising concerns over the workplace conditions for prison wardens given that cuts to services have demonstrate an increase in cases of inmate violence.

Incidents involving throwing faeces at prison officers - a protest act known as "potting" - occur frequently, especially against women working in detention centres, Ms Ffrench told other delegates.

The POA vehemently supported a Fire Brigades Union motion carried at the TUC women's conference arguing for a workable pension scheme.

Being hazardous occupations, both firefighters and prison officers are frequently threatened with dismissal based on injury. Yet Conservative Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has made known that those aged over 55 but forced to retire before 60 will see their pensions slashed by almost 50 per cent.

Due to draconian changes in English and Welsh labour law it is illegal for POA members to go on strike.


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