Prison staff being told they have to return to work.

Isle of Wight prison officers have now returned to work after a national strike was called off today (Friday).

As reported by Isle of Wight Radio earlier, the Prison Officers Association (POA) called for all its members across England and Wales to walk out of their workplaces ‘until instructed otherwise’.

The moment prison staff on the Isle of Wight were told they have to return to work.

The association was calling on the Government to improve safety in jails and reduce violence and overcrowding, something which it says has drastically increased.

Hundreds of officers from HMP Isle of Wight were stood outside the prison in protest, whilst it was estimated that around 5,000 prison officers took part in the protests nationally.

However, following what the POA is calling a “meaningful engagement” with Prisons Minister Rory Stewart, the strike has now ended.

The letter prison staff were given telling them to return to work.

Speaking exclusively to Isle of Wight Radio, POA chair at Albany, Neil Yule, said:

“We’ve been told that our NEC (National Executive Committee) members are in talks as we speak now at ministerial level with the Government and I don’t believe we’ll get anything more until those talks have concluded.”

“Like everything else we want more information. We are all frustrated because we haven’t got information. But in this day and age where we have social media, I’m sure they will get something out to us as soon as possible.”

The threat of court action against POA has also been withdrawn and it’s stated that it will engage with its employer to agree on a “timebound plan of action”.

Steve Gillan from the POA said:

“We must take things on face value following the meeting with the Minister but the devil will be in the detail. The POA will not allow our members to suffer in silence the Employer must be prepared to meet our demands and provide safe prisons.”

Officers on the Isle of Wight have been told that if they do no return to work then “deductions may be made” to their pay and they may be subject “to disciplinary procedures”.