Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/901/22766
From The Socialist newspaper, 11 May 2016
Prison officers walk out over health and safety
Walk-out at Wormwood Scrubs on 6 May (Click to enlarge)
Over 50 workers at Wormwood Scrubs prison walked out over health and safety issues on 6 May. The Prison Officers' Association (POA) said the move comes after recent assaults on staff, and said the jail was "flooded with drugs, mobile phones and weapons".
Michael Rolfe, NEC member for London and South East region of the POA spoke to the Socialist: "Staff had an emergency branch meeting following a spate of incidents within the prison and general concerns of safety.
"At that meeting the staff determined that they should withdraw labour and seek assurances from the governor to try and ratify their position and their concerns. The members are very much behind their local POA committee.
"Nationally there's been a massive spike in staff assaults and figures were revealed last week that showed another significant upturn in staff assaults, violence, prisoner self-harm, and prisoner-on-prisoner violence. The whole system seems to be imploding in on itself."
Also Matt Clarke, chair of the POA branch at Wormwood Scrubs, thanked Socialist Party members for attending the picket line to offer solidarity: "I would like to pass on unequivocal thanks and appreciation to the Socialist Party.
"The brave staff made an exceptional personal sacrifice in an attempt to ensure safer working conditions. With the threat of a High Court injunction looming and management not recognising our concerns, the situation looked bleak but the staff stood firm.
"Due to pressure from the wider trade union movement and public support, the injunction never came. Shortly before 9pm an agreement had been reached between both parties which saw the immediate concerns of staff addressed and urgent talks arranged to discuss further ongoing issues.
"I would like to thank every trade unionist, Socialist Party member, the NSSN and of course the wider POA who contacted us with messages of solidarity and support. We could not have done it without you."
Clearly there is much that managers need to address as news broke on 8 May of two officers being seriously assaulted and hospitalised at Wormwood Scrubs and on 9 May there was another walk out at Holme House prison in Stockton-on-Tees.
Donate to the Socialist Party
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.
In The Socialist 11 May 2016:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Tories retreat: now drive them out!
No to the bosses' EU, yes to international solidarity
Teachers force Tory academies u-turn
TUSC announces '20-city tour': the socialist case against the EU
Independent inquiry into Orgreave now!
Blair played matchmaker between Saudi oil barons and Chinese dictators
What we saw
Them & Us
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
John Mann's Israel hypocrisy
Council estate exhibition shows the full picture
Film review: Eddie the Eagle
The Socialist postbag
Elections showed anger and fragmentation
TUSC election campaigns show opposition to cuts
Over 1,700 votes for TUSC in Warrington
Scotland: SNP wins but new openings for socialist alternative emerge
Wales: no change and all change
Northern Ireland elections: positive moves against sectarian politics
Over 1,800 votes for TUSC candidate in Bristol
Third anti-cuts councillor elected in Southampton
TUSC increases vote in Coventry by 25%
Fourth place for TUSC in Liverpool
Workplace news and analysis
Blacklisted workers win millions in legal victory
Government blinks first in junior doctors' dispute
Trade Union Bill becomes law
Prison officers walk out over health and safety
Potential new steel bosses refuse to take on pensions
Workplace news in brief
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Let kids be kids: children 'strike' against Sats tests
What way forward for Tamil rights?
Save Paignton Hospital campaign launched
May Day demo says: no cuts to childrens' centres!
Support for junior doctors at campaign stalls
International socialist news and analysis
Greek general strike: more needed to defeat austerity
How to trump Donald
The Socialist 11 May 2016 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook