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Prison Officers Strike

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Prison officers in England and Wales have begun a lightning strike in a row over pay and conditions.


Staff at 140 jails walked out at 7.00am this morning. The strike will last at least 24 hours.

Colin Moses from the Prison Officers' Association told Sky News: "I am waiting for a call from Justice Secretary Jack Straw to get round the negotiating table and resolve this.

"My members face abuse every day -- we are being asked to look after the most violent prisoners.

"Our job is to keep order and control in prisons and we should be properly rewarded for that.

"We've been given for the second year running a below inflation pay increase.

"We believe enough is enough."

Around 28,000 prison officers voted earlier this month to take industrial action over pay.

The row blew up after a pay review body recommended a rise of 2.5% this year but the Government decided it should be staged, reducing the value of the award to 1.9%

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said: "We regret this action by the Prison Officers' Association, which is illegal and a breach of the Joint Industrial Relations Procedural Agreement.

"We will be seeking advice on our next step."

Sky Correspondent Joey Jones said the Ministry appeared to have been caught completely unawares.

"There seems to be an atmosphere of panic," he said.

It is not clear who is currently staffing the 140 jails.

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