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Two-day strike begins at 49 prisons

10 May 2021

Unprecedented strike action is set to begin in prisons in England.

Around 600 UCU members working in prison education are set to walk out of 49 prison and young offender institutions* across England on Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 May. The walkouts have been called after over 68% of UCU members who voted in an industrial action ballot said they were prepared to take strike action over Covid health and safety concerns. 

The dispute centres on Novus' failure to meaningfully engage with UCU over Covid health and safety concerns and on-site provision. Novus has used complaints and investigations to intimidate UCU's health and safety representatives, making it difficult for staff to raise safety concerns and impossible for any meaningful health and safety discussions to take place.  

UCU is in discussions with Novus at ACAS, the government funded public body that tries to resolve workplace disputes. But the union believes Novus is not negotiating in good faith as it is refusing to drop investigations into UCU health and safety representatives. 

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Industrial action on this scale by prison educators is unprecedented, and is a reflection of the strength of feeling among our members both about their employer's disregard of their health and safety, and repeated intimidation of our representatives by management. Novus needs to urgently listen to staff, stop intimidating our health and safety representatives, and withdraw the unfair complaints and investigations against them so that we can have meaningful health and safety discussions. 

'Our members have a mandate for sustained industrial action. This begins tomorrow with a two-day walkout. Novus needs to stops its bullying behaviour if it wants to avoid any further escalations.'

*Full list of prisons and young offender institutes where staff are on strike:
Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Altcourse
HMP Birmingham
HMP Brinsford
HMP Brixton
HMP Buckley Hall
HMP Deerbolt Bowes
HMP Doncaster
HMP Durham
HMP Featherstone
HMP Hatfield/Lakes
HMP Haverigg
HMP Hewell
HMP High Down
HMP Holme House
HMP Hull
HMP Humber
HMP Kirkham
HMP Kirklevington
HMP Lancaster Farms
HMP Leeds
HMP Lindholme
HMP Liverpool
HMP Northumberland
HMP Oakwood
HMP Onley
HMP Pentonville
HMP Preston
HMP Risley
HMP Rye Hill
HMP Stafford
HMP Swinfen Hall
HMP Thameside
HMP Wandsworth
HMP Wealstun
HMP Wormwood Scrubs
HMP Wymott
HMP/Young Offender Institution (YOI) Low Newton
HMP/YOI Moorland/Lakes
Her Majesty's Young Offender Institution (HMYOI) Askham Grange
HMYOI Cookham Wood
HMYOI Feltham
HMYOI Hindley
HMYOI New Hall
HMYOI Stoke Heath
HMYOI Thorn Cross
HMYOI Werrington
HMYOI Wetherby 

Last updated: 10 May 2021