Prisoner claims workplace rights

A convicted murderer has taken the Scottish Prison Service to an employment
tribunal to demand greater rights for inmates working in Scotland’s prisons.

Philip Garden, who was an employment specialist before his conviction for
murder in 1996, is using the European Convention on Human Rights to demand
contracts and cash payments for prisoners across Scotland.

Garden, who is at Greenock prison, told the tribunal it is unfair that the
SPS dictates what work he does, how much he is paid, how many days he works and
whether he is paid in cash or credits.

The SPS is concerned that if he is successful all prisoners may demand the
minimum wage, pension rights, annual leave and even the possibility of keeping
their jobs when their sentence is over.

It believes that there is no employee-employer relationship between
prisoners and the prison authorities.

But last month a prisoner won his claim that slopping out at Barlinnie was
in breach of his human rights. Another prisoner launched a legal attempt in
December to be paid the minimum wage.

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