The Prison Service’s most senior HR professional has rejected union doubts about the independence of the pay review body that prompted the first-ever strike vote last week.
The Prison Officers’ Association (POA) said the dispute centred on the union’s lack of confidence in the pay review body for the Prison Service, which it claims is not impartial.
But Gareth Hadley, the service’s director of personnel, said the POA’s claims were unfounded. “The pay review body’s members are appointed by the prime minister on the recommendation of the home secretary,” he said. “They come from a variety of different backgrounds and all members are independent.”
Current members of the review body include Jerry Cope, former Royal Mail managing director, and ex-Marks and Spencer HR manager Beryl Brewer.
“The POA believes that the government overly influences the body, but we will try to find the words to convince them that is not the case,” Hadley said.
He also warned that the Prison Service was prepared to take legal action against the union. “Industrial action would be in a breach of a no-strike agreement with the POA,” he said.