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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 21:05 GMT
Scots prison strike ban ruled out
Prison cell being locked
Prison officers in Scotland have a separate arbitration agreement
The Scottish Government has ruled out reintroducing powers to ban strikes by prison officers in Scotland.

Westminster Justice Secretary Jack Straw announced plans in the Commons on Monday to introduce the measure in England and Wales.

But the Scottish cabinet was told by Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill that the SNP administration will not be following suit.

Both justice secretaries discussed the issue ahead of Mr Straw's statement.

A Scottish Government spokesman said Mr MacAskill was "sounded out" about the measure being extended to Scotland.

"The cabinet secretary politely declined that offer," the spokesman said.

We believe that this system is part of the good and positive relations that we have in Scotland with the prison officers organisation
Scottish Government spokesman

"The Scottish Prison Service and the Prison Officers Association Scotland have a voluntary industrial relations agreement in place which allows for independent, mutually binding arbitration in resolving disputes.

"This system has been in place for about six years and we believe that this system is part of the good and positive relations that we have in Scotland with the prison officers organisation.

"We certainly intend to keep the position that we have in Scotland going."

The Scottish Cabinet was also told that Mr Straw acknowledged in the Commons that there appeared to "a far more positive relationship in Scotland" between ministers and prison officers, according to the spokesman.

Mr Straw's announcement was met with dismay by trade unions.

He claimed he had been left with "no alternative" but to seek the new powers to protect the public and inmates following last August's wildcat strike by members of the Prison Officers Association (POA).



SEE ALSO
Ministers seek prison strike ban
07 Jan 08 |  UK Politics
Prison staff demand strike talks
10 Oct 07 |  UK Politics

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