From education to employment

Prison educators vote to strike across England over low pay

Jo Grady, UCU general secretary

Over 400 staff working in education at 48 prisons and youth offender institutions across England could walk out after voting for strike action [NOTE 1], the University and College Union (UCU) announced today (Wednesday).

Members voted overwhelmingly for strike action with 94.47% of those voting, voting ‘YES’ in a vote that surpassed the 50% turnout threshold imposed by Tory anti trade union legislation.

The prison educators, who are employed by Novus, have seen their pay fall by more than 25% since 2009. Prison education is already one of the lowest paid sectors, as highlighted by the House of Commons Education Select Committee.

Novus has made a pay offer of just 2% for 2021/22 and 3% for 2022/23, far below current RPI inflation of 12.3%.UCU is demanding Novus comes to the table with a realistic pay offer that helps staff meet the cost of living crisis. UCU members will now meet to decide next steps.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:

‘Rather than offer prison educators a desperately needed pay rise to help them meet the cost of living crisis, Novus management decided to deliver yet more real terms pay cuts. They have no one but themselves to blame now staff have voted overwhelmingly for strike action.

‘Many prison education are facing poverty because historically low pay means they are already financially insecure. Novus still has time to do what is necessary and make staff an improved and realistic offer. If it refuses to do so, staff will have no option other than to take strike action across its prisons in England.’ 

[1] Prisons/Youth offender institutions where UCU now has a live mandate to take strike action:

  1. HMP Altcourse, Liverpool
  2. HMP Birmingham, Birmingham
  3. HMP Brinsford, Wolverhampton
  4. HMP Brixton, London
  5. HMP Buckley Hall, Rochdale
  6. HMP Deerbolt, Barnard Castle
  7. HMP Doncaster, Doncaster
  8. HMP Durham, Durham
  9. HMP Featherstone, Wolverhampton
  10. .HMP Hatfield/Lakes, Doncaster
  11. HMP Haverigg, Haverigg, Millom
  12. HMP Hewell, Worcestershire
  13. HMP High Down, Surrey
  14. HMP Holme House, Stockton On Tees
  15. HMP Hull, Hull
  16. HMP Humber, North Humberside,
  17. HMP Kirkham, Preston
  18. HMP Lancaster Farms, Lancaster
  19. HMP Leeds, Leeds,
  20. HMP Lindholme,  Doncaster
  21. HMP Liverpool, Liverpool
  22. HMP Northumberland, Northumberland
  23. HMP Oakwood, Wolverhampton
  24. HMP Onley, Rugby
  25. HMP Pentonville, London
  26. HMP Preston, Preston
  27. HMP Risley, Warrington
  28. HMP Rye Hill, Willoughby, Warwickshire
  29. HMP Stafford, Stafford
  30. HMP Swinfen Hall, Staffs
  31. HMP Thameside, London
  32. HMP Wandsworth, London
  33. HMP Wealstun, Wetherby
  34. HMP Wormwood Scrubs, London
  35. HMP Wymott, Preston
  36. HMP/YOI Low Newton, Durham
  37. HMP/YOI Moorland/Lakes, Doncaster
  38. HMP/YOI Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire
  39. HMYOI Cookham Wood (YP), Rochester, Kent
  40. HMYOI Feltham, Middlesex,
  41. HMYOI Hindley, Wigan
  42. HMYOI Isis, Western Way, London
  43. HMYOI New Hall, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
  44. HMYOI Stoke Heath, Market Drayton, Shropshire
  45. HMYOI Thorn Cross, Warrington, Cheshire
  46. HMYOI Werrington, Stoke On Trent
  47. HMYOI Wetherby (YP), Wetherby
  48. Offender Learning, Manchester

Related Articles