Prison Officers Back At Work After Strike

Prison officers in England and Wales have returned work after calling off Wednesday's wildcat strike.

The surprise strike action, which involved staff from 140 jails across England and Wales, began at 7am on Wednesday and was expected to last 24 hours.

The walkout followed a ballot of prison officers earlier this month where around 87% voted in favour of industrial action.

The ballot was sparked after a pay review recommended a rise of 2.5% this year, but the government decided the rise should be staged and reduced the value to 1.9%.

The Ministry of Justice was granted a High Court injunction to stop the strike on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking on Thursday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that he would do "nothing" to put economic stability at risk following the strike. He said that delaying part of this year's public sector pay rise was "an essential part" of tackling inflation. He said: "We have succeeded in tackling inflation and having a stable economy because of discipline in pay over these last ten years. That discipline will have to continue.

"The staging of the pay awards are an essential part of controlling inflation in the economy, keeping interest rates and mortgage rates low for home owners and making sure that we have stability so that we can continue as an economy, the tenth and now the eleventh year of growth and the eleventh year of creating more jobs.

"And we will do nothing, nothing to put that at risk. It is an absolutely essential element of maintaining the discipline in the economy so that people have jobs, people have higher standards of living and at the same time we have a stable economy that yields low interest rates."

The Prison Officers Association is due to hold fresh pay talks with ministers on Friday.


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