Custody officers responsible for moving criminals between Scotland’s prisons and courts have voted for strike action over a pay dispute.
Trade union GMB, which represents a quarter of staff who work for private contractor GeoAmey, is unhappy with a 3% pay increase negotiated by another union.
More than 200 prison custody officers (PCOs) who are members of GMB were balloted earlier this month. The union said 97% voted for industrial action, with a turnout of 73%.
GMB Scotland organiser Karen Leonard said: “The message from workers to management is loud and clear – they want better pay and conditions for the vital work they do.
“PCOs are human shields between the public and prisoners but their working environment is becoming more dangerous by the day.”
Last year, The Sunday Post told how murderers and other high-risk prisoners were being driven between jails and courts in ordinary cars. We revealed how a series of violent incidents had taken place inside the vehicles.
Mrs Leonard added: “PCOs are paid an absolute pittance, less than £10 an hour. No credible trade union would let this go on unchallenged.”
Community trade union, which represents the majority of GeoAmey’s PCOs, declined to comment.
GeoAmey said: “We continue to respond to the GMB and their assertion of a dispute to tell them in the strongest possible terms that we consider their proposed industrial action to be unlawful.”