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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Haverigg prisoners locked in their cells

PUBLIC services in Copeland ground to a halt as a result of strike action.

Prison staff gathered outside the jail gates to stage a protest meeting in solidarity with striking public sector workers.

Around 20 members of staff met outside the gates of HMP Haverigg, showing support for the estimated two million public sector workers taking part in the industrial action nationally.

Just 60 prison officers were on duty. This saw prisoners locked in their cells for an extended period and, in some areas of the prison, heating was switched off for the 24-hour strike.

Members of the Unite union, representing cooks and works staff at the jail, picketed the entrance but prison officers are not able to strike.

Members of Unite and the Prison Officers’ Association staged a 30-minute meeting at noon.

John McClane, HMP Haverigg’s POA rep, said: “They want us to pay extra for our pensions – for myself that would mean an extra £200 per month.

“This is a show of solidarity to public sector workers taking action.

“We should really be out standing beside them but, as we know, it’s illegal for us to take action.

“There are just 60 officers in prison today and we are on restricted regime today.”

Keith Pemberton, a member of the prison’s works staff, was at the Unite picket line.

He said: “We’ve had our pension contributions increased – I’m going to pay an extra £60 a month for nothing but I will receive £38,000 less at the end of it.

“We can’t afford to pay more to get less.

“The government is going to cut back on the public sector as it is – it looks like conditions aren’t going to get any better.”

Six members of staff from Millom ambulance station were striking, though members had opted to provide cover for 999 calls.

Michael French said: “This is going to cost me an extra £1,000 per year.

“They have capped pay rises at one per cent yet want 3.5 per cent more from us for pensions.

“We’ve had plenty of support from people passing.

“For me this is the quiet end of things – at the next strike I will not respond to 999 calls.

“We’re trying not to take the hard line.”

Copeland Borough Council managed to keep its Millom and Whitehaven offices open but a spokesman said around 63 per cent of its 300-plus work force was on strike.

Refuse collections were the main service affected, with wheelie bin and recycling collections cancelled.

No one from HMP Haverigg was available for comment when the Evening Mail went to press.

Have your say

Well said Alf !! :) Just a thought but maybe if they took all these nice things off the prisoners and also turned the heating off in the cells during the winter months. The money they save could go towards the Prison Guards retirement funds instead?

Posted by Mark C on 5 December 2011 at 16:58

No doubt the prisoners of Haverigg will be claiming compensation for this outrage! Whilst the Prison Guards are out on strike because they want to make sure financial security when they are old and grey, those poor prisoners had no access to the flat screen telly, the gym or games room. All free of course, along with the 3 meals a day, rent free, no council tax and plenty of state benefits when released.
Its becoming apparent the people who work hard for a living get stuck with the bill!

Posted by Alf on 4 December 2011 at 20:59

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